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Wall Street Journal On Ron Paul

Carl Bank
post Dec 31 2007, 07:37 PM
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QUOTE
Ron Paul's War Chest Swelled in 4th Quarter
By MARY JACOBY
December 31, 2007

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul may lag behind in public-opinion polls. But after raising about $19 million for the final three months of the year, he is now among his party's front-runners in the race for campaign cash.

When the books close on the year's fourth quarter today, the plain-spoken antiwar Texas congressman will have posted one of the best fund-raising periods of any Republican presidential candidate this year.

To be sure, other Republican candidates hadn't disclosed their fourth-quarter fund-raising figures as of yesterday. But to date, only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has issued a better three-month report, and just once: $20.8 million in the first quarter, not counting loans the former venture capitalist made to his campaign.
[Ron Paul]

Mr. Paul's fund-raising performance is all the more remarkable because his bid for the Republican nomination remains such a long shot. An advocate of small government who opposes American participation in most international organizations and treaties, and who would leave questions like abortion up to the states, Mr. Paul registers in single digits in polls nationally and in the key early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. His fourth-quarter fund-raising figures represent a remarkable acceleration; for the first three quarters of this year combined, he raised just $8.2 million.

The 72-year-old congressman, who is also an obstetrician, is the only candidate in either party so far to disclose his fourth-quarter fund-raising figures. He posts a running tally on his Web site, updated frequently, and with the names of his most recent contributors displayed. As of midday yesterday, Mr. Paul had raised $18.95 million and had more checks to count that had come in through the mail.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a folksy Baptist minister who has surged to the top of the polls in Iowa and elsewhere with strong support from Christian evangelicals, also had his best fund-raising quarter. However, Mr. Huckabee's campaign declined to announce its total take.

Mr. Huckabee's Web site shows he has raised nearly $5 million online during the quarter -- and that alone is more than double the $2.3 million he raised in the first nine months of the year. In a conference call with reporters Friday, Mr. Huckabee said he now has about $2 million in the bank and no campaign debts.

Neither Mr. Romney nor any of the other Republican candidates would say yesterday how much they had raised in the quarter. The deadline for filing public reports of their year-end finances is Jan. 31.

Mr. Paul's ability to reel in increasingly large hauls of campaign cash is a measure of his supporters' passion for his libertarian views -- and an unflattering mirror of his better known rivals' campaigns, whose fund-raising trends have been downward.
[Fund-Raising Totals]

Mr. Paul's total is all the more impressive because, unlike other candidates, few of his donors are giving the maximum $2,300 check. About 90 percent of Mr. Paul's contributions come through online donations that average $100 per donor, said his spokesman, Jesse Benton. "We have powerful grassroots support," he said. "It shows how hungry people are for real change."

It also means Mr. Paul will have money to run television ads and hire staff for campaign operations even in big states, like Florida, which holds its primary on Jan. 29.

With his war chest and strong appeal to political independents, Mr. Paul could possibly be a spoiler for candidates like John McCain or former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in New Hampshire, where both candidates are angling for such voters. Independents have special influence in New Hampshire, because the state's Jan. 8 primary elections are open to voters who haven't chosen any party affiliation.

Enthusiasm has been much greater on the Democratic side, if fund raising is the barometer. The top two candidates, Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, had raised a combined $170 million through Sept. 30. That was roughly the same amount as the entire Republican field, which originally numbered 11 candidates, had raised in the same period.

The Republican money struggles come amid low approval ratings for President Bush and the lack of any clear heir apparent, such as a vice president, running for the nomination.

"Republican donors are being more methodical in how they chose a candidate this time," said Jennifer Bannister, a Republican fund-raising consultant who isn't working for any presidential campaign. "I'm hearing people say they are waiting to get behind a candidate when one pulls out in front."

Write to Mary Jacoby at mary.jacoby@wsj.com

source: Wall Street Journal
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amazed!
post Jan 1 2008, 10:51 PM
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I think I recognize the name Mary Jacoby from good articles in days gone by. That is a fair assessment of the situation by Ms. Jacoby.
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