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Ron Paul forming exploratory committee for possible presidential run

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Win McNamee GETTY IMAGES Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is gearing up for another presidential campaign. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has launched an exploratory campaign, taking the first step towards an expected third run at the presidency and second candidacy for the Republican nomination.

The libertarian-minded congressman said he would make a final decision “one way or another” in May.

In 2008, Paul’s campaign got lots of buzz and media attention for deploying “moneybombs” — one-day fundraising drives that brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars. While he developed a loyal following among college students and libertarian activists, Paul was never able to expand his base of support enough to register in Republican primaries. He was also the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988.

Paul is better known now than he was three years ago, and his fiscal focus seems to fit the prevailing national mood. His approach and concerns line up in many ways with the tea party movement — Paul’s first “moneybomb” was timed to coincide with the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. So he might perform better this time around, but he still is widely believed to have little chance of winning the nomination. He has little support in the polls, and his isolationist foreign policy position is out of step with the GOP mainstream.

Trevor Lyman, the man behind Paul’s huge online fundraising success in the 2008 campaign, says he will “certainly be a part of fundraising again.”A moneybomb is being organized for May 5, the day of the first presidential debate in South Carolina, which Paul is expected to attend. Lyman says the Ron Paul blimp will be back, but instead of one big blimp supporters might set loose a group of “mini-blimps” promoting meet-ups around the country.

Paul announced his plans in a Fox News appearance Monday night, but he made the formal launch from a hotel in Des Moines, Iowa. His bid means that his son Rand, now a senator from Kentucky, will not run for president. Sen. Paul was openly considering a bid, but only if his father was out of the race.

Paul also announced his political team in Iowa: Chairman Drew Ivers, who chaired the congressman’s 2008 Iowa campaign, vice-chairman David Fischer, and vice-chairman A.J. Spiker. All three are affiliated with Campaign for Liberty, Paul’s political action committee.

“Iowa has a special place in American politics, and Dr. Paul is very pleased to announce the launch of his exploratory committee in the capitol of the Hawkeye State,”said Paul political director Jesse Benton in a statement.

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