Will Ron Paul Run as Third Party Presidential Candidate?

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who has a reputation for going against the status quo, said Friday morning on Fox News’ “Special Report” that he will not rule out the possibility of running as an Independent if he doesn’t win the Republican nomination for president.

Paul said that it was too early to make such an announcement, yet he hinted at the idea several times during the interview, noting there were more Independents than Republicans and Democrats in New Hampshire.

The Texas congressman, in response to Juan Williams’ question on if he would run as an Independent if he didn’t get the GOP nomination, said:

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"Look, Juan, you have to realize let's say that I was thinking about that and I said that. Then it would undermine what I'm doing. I'm running for president. I'm doing pretty well, I'm in third. So, no, I'm running for president in the Republican Party, I'm doing very well. And last time they wondered about it, but, you know the whole thing is, is boy the people are really frustrated. You go to New Hampshire there are more independents then Republicans or Democrats."

Many political analyst and pundits on both sides of the aisle seem to agree that there will be a third party candidate in the 2012 presidential election. In Friday’s “Pundits Blog” in The Hill, Brent Budowsky writes:

“In my view the Republican Party is not the natural home for Ron Paul. He is far too independent, far too unfriendly to the corporatist wing of Republicans, far too libertarian and far too threatening to the real power that runs the Republican Party.”

“A Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul general election? Could happen. The debates would be worth the price of admission to the seventh game of the World Series. The Ron Paul news blackout would become a Ron Paul news surge!” wrote Budowsky.

Political consultant Layne Provine questions why Paul would run as an Independent.

"I truly believe, Ron Paul, like most every other Republican, wants to defeat President Obama next year," said Provine. "But running as a third-party candidate doesn't advance that agenda, in fact, it only takes votes away from the Republican nominee. Plus, if he didn't run four years ago when McCain was the nominee, why would he run now?"

But in the meantime, Paul is working the Granite state hard and has a full day of events planned for Friday in New Hampshire. He is addressing the Nashua Chamber of Commerce in the morning and holding a town hall meeting in Hampstead later in the day.

Despite Paul’s aggressive northeastern campaign schedule, the latest Rasmussen poll released Thursday shows Romney with a commanding lead at 41 percent, compared to Cain’s 17 percent and Paul’s 11 percent.

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