GOP candidate Ron Paul is using delegates to embark on a new campaign strategy to establish either himself or his libertarian values during the 2012 Florida Republican National Convention.
While Paul works to garner the Republican nomination by the states’ popular vote, grassroots campaign aides are rounding up supporters to register as RNC delegates.
In his new strategy, Paul supporters are becoming delegates in the hopes of drawing attention to the libertarian platform even if their candidate does not win the popular vote.
Websites such as RonPaulOK.com and RonPaulDelegates.com are bidding libertarians in Oklahoma and various other states to become state and district delegates. The initiative has even popped up in blogs and on Facebook. The Ron Paul Delegates Facebook page has 2,254 likes thus far.
“The more delegates I have, the more leverage I have,” Paul told The New York Times.
Paul, who first ran for president as a libertarian in 1988, has been a strong advocate for small government, government transparency and curbing the United States’ involvement in foreign conflict on the 2012 campaign trail.
The Texas congressman acknowledged that GOP candidates and their supporters are resistant to those ideas on the campaign trail but he is confident they will change their tune when they have to seek the support of “unpledged” delegates on the floor of 2012 RNC.
“How much leverage do I have? How many more votes am I going to get? You know, the more pressure they feel, the more they might be willing to look at some of those issues. We want to change things,” Paul told The New York Times.
Grassroots supporters are also still holding on to hope that Paul could use the delegates to win the GOP nomination.
RonPaulDelegates.com proclaims, “The good news is that Ron Paul doesn’t have to win a single state to get the GOP nomination; he just needs to win the [unpledged] delegates.”
Delegates in most states are assigned to vote for either the districts or the state. They are “pledged” to vote for the candidate or candidates that win th eir areas at the RNC. If the candidate they are pledged to vote for drops out of the race, delegates are often unpledged or released to support another candidate.
So far Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney is winning the delegate race. He won first place in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and has a total of 25 delegates, according to CNN.
Paul won third in Iowa and second in New Hampshire. He trails Romney with 10 delegates. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has eight delegates, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has four, Newt Gingrich has three and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has two.
Huntsman’s two delegates may be up for grabs now that he has bowed out of the race. He has yet to release his delegates.
Two delegates alone will not help Paul surpass Romney. But if more candidates drop out before the national convention in August, Paul’s plan could prove to be a powerful one.
However, Paul needs his rivals to stay in the race to prevent Romney from getting the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination before the RNC.