Monday, 04 April 2011

Ron Paul Leads 2012 GOP Hopefuls in First Quarter Fundraising

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If you can measure a politician�s popularity by the number of dollars donated to his campaign (or cause), then Ron Paul is the most popular Republican in the country right now.

According to figures obtained by Politico, the Texas congressman reportedly raised about $3 million in the first quarter of 2011. The donations were made to the various organizations associated with Paul and his policies.

Reports Politico:

The Texas congressman raised $1 million through his federal PAC and $2 million through Campaign for Liberty, a 501C(4) which cannot transfer funds directly to political organizations. Paul's fundraising documents, to be filed later Thursday with the FEC, will also show he has $1.7 million on hand in his congressional campaign account.

Although not an official candidate for President, Ron Paul maintains a devoted cadre of grassroots supporters that is unmatched by any of his likely 2012 GOP primary opponents.

Jesse Benton, the president of Paul's LibertyPAC described to Politico the strength and scope of Dr. Pauls donor pool:

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Dr. Paul's fundraising comes almost exclusively from individuals, not special interests. He received contributions from all 50 states, and his average gift this quarter was under $70, demonstrating his broad grassroots support.

Dr. Paul's grassroots fundraising prowess is unmatched, and any 2012 political endeavor on which he embarks will have the financial backing it takes to win.

The fundraising success of other Republican hopefuls was reported by Politico, as well.

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (described in the Politico piece as a tea party favorite) reportedly raked in $2.2 million during the first three months of the year.

Another well-known contender, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, finished third in the chip count with about $1.9 million.

As reported earlier by The New American, despite his questionable policy decisions while serving as Massachusetts chief executive, in a recent PEW survey, Mitt Romney polled well among those describing themselves as tea party members.

Lest anyone think that all this cash is going to Ron Paul's head, the good doctor knows who deserves the credit for building such an impressive cache.

In February, Congressman Paul sent an email to supporters praising them for their continuing financial support, especially those donating to the aforementioned Liberty PAC:

Money sent to Liberty PAC will allow me the flexibility I need to test the waters and determine the next best step as I continue to fight for what you and I hold so dear. Liberty PAC funds will allow me to travel, speak out, hire staff, and fund mail, phones, emails, and banner, TV, and radio ads to contact, educate, and persuade our fellow Americans. And, it will provide me with flexibility no other vehicle can.

Regardless of Michele Bachmann's media-created status as darling of the Tea Party, many witnesses to the bottle rocket rise of the movement credit Congressman Paul with being the spark that lit the fuse.

In fact, one of the earliest tea party demonstrations was held by that same loyal grassroots legion of volunteers that has filled the coffers of Congressman Paul.

On December 16, 2007 (on the 234th anniversary of the truly original Tea Party) hundreds of Paul supporters gathered in Boston at the State House steps at 1 p.m. and marched down the street toward historic Faneuil Hall, where they listened to speeches sonorous with Pauls libertarian message.

Many credit this speech as the genesis of the tea party movement.

Despite his healthy bank account, there has been no official word from the Paul people about whether or not the staunch constitutionalist will challenge President Obama for the Oval Office in 2012.

A hopeful (though unofficial) group of Dr. Paul's Facebook supporters promised that if we show him enough support, he will announce his official candidacy for 2012.

The man himself has said nothing certain on the subject of his plans for the next election.

What is certain, however, is that there are millions of Americans anxious for someone with Paul's constitutional bona fides to win the White House and bring a devotion to liberty and limited government to a mansion that has become a temple to tyranny.