Ron Paul hasn't won a single state in the 2012 Republican primary season. And yet Thursday's rally in the shadow of the LBJ Library at the University of Texas rivaled any crowds Mitt Romney or President Obama could draw at a campaign appearance.
Audio: Ben Philpott's story for KUT News
Paul fed off the crowd's excitement. He seemed giddy at times just to have such a large crowd to speak to about ending foreign war, doing away with the Federal Reserve, returning to the gold standard and legalizing marijuana.
But Paul also addressed the 800-pound gorilla in the race: the fact that he's far behind Romney and will not win the nomination.
"So it is going to be difficult," Paul told supporters, "but it is always glorious to have success. And we will have success. Am I saying we're gonna have success next week, next month, August or November? In some ways we will. We will have success."
Paul said the spirit of what he calls his campaign revolution won't go away. Supporter Alex Zhu plans to vote for Paul in the May 29 Texas primary. He knows Paul won't be the nominee, but that doesn't mean rallies like the one last night are pointless, he said.
"In order to achieve some of this stuff, you have to start high. If you don't aim high enough, you're not going to get to a certain point," Zhu said.
Some of Paul's supporters also hope he'll be able to pick up enough delegates by staying in the race to have some power at the Republican National Convention in August.
Jim Henson, head the Texas Politics Project at UT and a pollster for the Tribune, says that based on his polling data, Paul does not have momentum heading into the summer.
"He's lost a lot of support I think primarily because of his foreign-policy pronouncements and to a lesser extent some of the more controversial corners of his libertarian positions like drug policy," Henson said.