The Big Conversation:
Ron Paul effectively ended his presidential campaign on Monday. Or did he?
Paul on Monday announced in a statement that he would stop actively campaigning in the remaining Republican primaries, saying that continuing "would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have."
But Paul added that he wouldn't stop seeking to influence the nomination process. "We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that liberty is the way of the future," he said.
In fact, Paul still plans to drum up support at some state GOP conventions, including Minnesota's this weekend and Texas' in June, according to Politico.
Paul's decision to leave the campaign trail, though, wasn't driven entirely by finances. Disruptions at state conventions caused by Paul supporters — including an instance in which Mitt Romney's son Josh was booed off the stage at an Arizona event — have reportedly begun to worry Paul as he seeks to sustain his legacy and boost the political prospects of his son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
“It concerns him,” campaign chairman Jesse Benton told Politico. “He wants to convey to everybody and our staff want to convey that we’ll lose more than we gain if we go and we’re disrespectful. Respect and decorum are very important to Dr. Paul.”
Where Paul's passionate base of supporters ends up, though, still remains unclear. Though Paul campaign leaders have reportedly held meetings with the Romney campaign, recent polling has shown that less than half of Paul's supporters — 45 percent — would support Romney, the likely Republican nominee, while 39 percent would vote to re-elect President Barack Obama.
- Rick Perry today will urge the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to follow up with the state's colleges and universities to determine their progress in implementing a series of cost-efficiency recommendations the governor called for in 2009. "We must continue to build upon the progress we have made in higher education to ensure that students, parents and taxpayers receive the greatest value for their investment," Perry wrote in a letter to the coordinating board on Monday.
- The David Dewhurst campaign released a new radio ad Monday, the first day of early voting, in which Rick Perry defends the lieutenant governor's record. "You know the D.C. insiders are scared when they spend millions of dollars attacking Texas conservatives," Perry, in a jab at the Ted Cruz-supporting Club for Growth, says in the ad. "Despite their D.C. double-talk, the facts are simple. David Dewhurst is a conservative fighter."
- Rick Perry and Ron Paul have both, apparently, decided on the hottest new state in which to endorse: Minnesota. As the Houston Chronicle reports, Perry has filmed an ad for Army National Guard Capt. Pete Hegseth, a candidate in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. In the ad, Perry praises Hegseth for taking on "left-wing special interest groups like the ACLU, Code Pink and MoveOn." Paul, meanwhile, has endorsed Minnesota state Rep. Kurt Bills. The Republican candidate will face a tough race against incumbent U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is favored to win re-election.
"In the coming days, my campaign leadership will lay out to you our delegate strategy and what you can do to help, so please stay tuned." — Ron Paul to supporters in an announcement Monday
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