The Paul campaign has had no trouble generating enthusiasm from supporters, but low name recognition has hindered the Texas doctor. A fund-raising record and a rise in the polls may indicate he’s ready for a break-out.
Dismissed by critics, both in the media and in the political sphere, Paul’s campaign made a bid yesterday to prove it’s “ready for primetime”.
The candidate continues to show grass roots support; his campaign have broken their own one-day on-line fund-raising record.
Back in November, the Paul campaign raised $4.2 million online in one day with what they call a “money bomb,” a fundraising gimmick devised by Trevor Lyman, a musician and self-appointed Paul fundraiser profiled by The Times Dan Morain yesterday. Sunday’s gimmick was to celebrate the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party on a website with a drawing of Paul that looks remarkably like that president on the penny.
The Paul campaign has shown surprising strength in fund raising and on-line polls, but that has yet to translate into mainstream poll numbers.
However, this was a time for the campaign to celebrate. The amount wasn’t raised by a small group of large donars, rather it was an avalanche of small donars–via the web–that drove the fund-raising.
As of shortly after midnight Sunday night Pacific time, the Paul website was reporting more than $6 million raised on Sunday from more than 30,000 donors and an amazing fourth-quarter fundraising total surpassing $18.1 million. The little-known pro-life Texan, who favors abolishing much of the federal government and the Federal Reserve, could raise the most money of any Republican candidate this quarter. A spokesman said the average donation was $50.
The Texan’s campaign has not been shy about deploying innovative, attention-grabbing fund-raising methods. They have spurred on giving by everyday donars giving small amounts.
Today, they’re at it again. Hoping to detonate what they call a “money bomb,” the supporters started fundraising at midnight Saturday and have already raised $2 million as of about 10:30 a.m. today, more than at this point on Nov. 5, according to figures they posted online. They hope to collect a total of $10 million by midnight Sunday.
Besides the ‘money bomb’ idea, they’ve used Guy Fawkes Day and yesterday’s anniversary of the Boston Tea Party as symbols of their ‘back to the Constitution’ campaign.
Paul supporters had planned to dump at least some tea into Boston Harbor to commemorate both the Tea Party of 1773 and their 2007 fund-raising idea.
The clever ideas have made an impact on the 2008 campaign. While some other candidates have reported difficulties making ends meet, Paul has been quoted as saying he’s “not sure how to spend all the money”.
If the reported money number holds up when officially reported to the Federal Election Commission in early January, Paul will not only be the only Republican candidate to oppose the Iraq war, he’ll be the only GOP candidate to increase fundraising totals each quarter this year–from $640,000 to $2.4 million to $5.1 million to whatever this quarter’s final total becomes above $18 million with two weeks to go.
Paul’s poll numbers in “reliable” polls have risen from 2% to 4% into the 8-9% range now.
Before the Presidential campaign season started, few outside Paul’s home state of Texas had heard of the libertarian Congressman. Name recognition nationwide was low but continues to grow.
Although Paul’s poll numbers have only climbed from zero to the high single digits, the fundraising totals (he raised five times as much as Mike Huckabee in the third quarter) have brought “the Ron Paul Revolution” broader attention and credibility and the ability to advertise in the early voting states. With the funds his campaign has, among other things, produced a 30-minute TV biographical documentary to be broadcast across Iowa this coming weekend and available online here. Next Sunday morning a network TV audience will get a chance to see him grilled by Tim Russert for a full hour on “Meet the Press.”
Ron Paul’s campaign has been accused of being largely Internet-driven. The accused stands happily: guilty as charged. The fund-raising record was credited in some circles as being a product of Web 2.0.
His legions of alert supporters scour the internet for slights to right, frequently crudely, and any opportunities to promote their strict constructionist candidate. They dismiss the polls as slanted and the money-raising as the real indicator of the 72-year-old ob-gyn’s growing national support among disaffected Republicans, Democrats and previous non-voters.
Ron Paul’s campaign continues to be a polarizing one, generating intense loyalty and zeal among believers and equally intense scorn and ridicule from opponents, both in the political arena and in the media.
One thing is for sure: it’s getting harder to dismiss Paul as a fringe “kook” as some have been doing.
Paul’s fund-raising muscle and his steady rise in mainstream polls indicate that he may now be ready for prime time.