Will Ron Paul carry the state of Washington's GOP delegates?
Bloggers note: While this blog is not about Presidential politics, this posting is necessary background for another posting.
Dr. Ron Paul is the only candidate for the Republican nomination for President who could schedule a rally in downtown Seattle open to the public, have over 1000 people show up to listen to him speak, and get applause at the end of the speech. Any other GOP candidate would have protesters booing him throughout any rally.
Paul supporters in the state of Washington are organizing to win the 40 GOP delegates to the National Convention for their candidate. They are showing up to vote in straw polls. They are organizing to become Precinct Committee Officers and attend the caucuses in February. They are registering to vote in the primary as well. Ron Paul is bringing more people into the Republican Party. In short, his supporters are running a campaign in the state unlike any other GOP campaign in the state.
There are several Paul Meetup groups around the state. The only GOP candidate with signs around the state is Paul. The Paul campaign is organizing a New Years rally in Olympia to support their candidate. The Paul campaign raised more money in the state of Washington than any other Republican Presidential contender during the third quarter of 2007. Given his massive increase in fundraising during the fourth quarter this is likely to be true for the fourth quarter as well.
Paul is the only potential Republican nominee who would have a chance of carrying the state in the general election. Many Washington voters would consider voting for Paul over Clinton for example. The Iraq war is very unpopular in the state and Paul's anti-war stance is quite popular relative to Clinton.
Will Ron Paul win those 40 delegates? Most of the Washington Republican Party establishment oppose Paul. There are stories of GOP district leaders preventing Paul supporters from becoming precinct committee officers. There are stories of GOP county chairmen being concerned with all of these young people showing up to their meetings and wanting to participate. There is some resentment between the GOP party faithful and Paul supporters.
So the big question is who will show up at the caucuses and who will show up at the polls. There seems to be good enthusiasm for the Paul candidacy in the state of Washington, but it remains to be seen how folks who are new to politics follow through.
After that there are more questions. What will all of the Paul supporters do after the caucus and primary are over? How will they react if the Republican establishment successfully beats them back? Will they join the Libertarian Party which is welcoming them? Will some of them run for state or local office? As Republicans or as Libertarians? These newcomers to the political process are wild cards and no one knows how this will come out.