Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s supporters use passion and intelligence to vault their candidate into the upper rungs of the Republican Primary Race.

Ron Paul’s presidential campaign began as an afterthought for most. Viewed as a protest candidate with little potential for impact, mainstream media outlets generally dismissed Paul’s candidacy while other Republican candidates ignored his platform of liberty and constitutional restraint.

Evidence of this could be seen during nationally televised debates, where Paul was often treated as a second class citizen, receiving far fewer questions than his fellow contenders. When questions were directed towards Paul – a staunch opponent of the War in Iraq – they were often of an irreverent nature, including queries about whether or not he belonged in the Republican Party or if he would support the Republican candidate should he lose.

But Paul and his followers were resolute. The lack of respect shown for the ten-term congressman seemed only to fuel the fire of his passionate and growing base of supporters. On October 30th, for example, the campaign announced that its YouTube channel had produced its 30,000th subscriber.

On October 17th Paul’s fund raising coordinator held a press conference announcing that the campaign, following its receipt of over $5 million in contributions during the third quarter, was the third most solvent in the Republican field, ahead of more recognized candidates like John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.

And again on October 30th, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Paul announced to the nation that despite popular sentiment, there was indeed a chance that he might succeed in his bid for the Republican nomination.

The media, however, was unconvinced. Determined not to believe that a candidate so wholly dedicated to the Constitution could find political success in an age of special interests, the media shrugged off Paul’s accomplishments, claiming that his success was largely the result of a small sect of dedicated online supporters.

This would change, however, after a successful November 5th fund raising effort where the candidate generated an astonishing $4.3 million in contributions in a 24-hour period. The truly remarkable aspect of this drive, however, is that the campaign took no part in its organization.

It was entirely organized by grassroots supporters who had established two goals for what they hoped would become an overnight historic event. First, the day was intended to raise a large amount of money for Paul’s campaign, a goal which was clearly accomplished. Second, by raising such a significant sum in such a short period, organizers hoped to send the message to the media that Paul’s supporters were comprised of far more than few internet junkies.

And the strategy worked. The $4.3 million in cash poured in from over 35,000 of Paul’s supporters, and the response from the media proved invaluable as Paul would receive attention from dozens of nationally televised news broadcasts. The candidate himself would make multiple high-profile appearances, greatly increasing name recognition amongst likely primary voters. In addition, hundreds of internet and print articles covering the day’s intake were published, making it clear that the intelligent design of the event proved effective towards its goal of putting the Congressman at the center of the national political spotlight.

This demonstration of support, however, may well be dwarfed by the next major effort being planned by Paul’s clever grassroots campaigners. A massive one day contribution drive has been planned for December 16th, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The initiative’s website currently boasts commitments from over 14,000 people to donate at least $100 each on that day. And with 30 days left until the drive, that number is sure to grow.

The earliest scheduled Primary is set to take place in Iowa on January 3rd. If Paul can continue to build his name recognition through demonstrations like the $4.3 million raised on November 5th there is certainly a chance that he can surprise those who viewed him as an afterthought at the beginning of this race. And for those unfamiliar with the candidate you can find more information about his positions at his website, http://www.ronpaul2008.com.

Derek is a college student majoring in Business Management and History. You can visit his blog here or contact him at dgetbnn@gmail.com .

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