Ron Paul’s surge to second place in the Des Moines Register’s latest Iowa poll may not be a big deal to most political observers, but some GOP insiders believe the Texas congressman may be on the verge of throwing a wrench into what was beginning to look like a two-man race for the Republican nomination between Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
According to report Tuesday by National Review
political writer Robert Costa, a Paul victory in Iowa is considered a real possibility by some political operatives who say the Texan is doing much better and is still broadening his support among frustrated voters.
They told Costa that Herman’s Cain’s departure from the race could end up delivering to Paul up to a fourth of voters who participate in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
“Ron Paul is definitely for real out here,” Tim Albrecht, communications director for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, told Costa. “He is going to get 18 percent in the caucuses no matter what. If there’s a snowstorm, he’ll probably win, since he has such dedicated, passionate supporters. The question is whether he can move higher than that.”
Paul, who has seen a rise in his popularity in both the Iowa and national polls, said on CNN Sunday that a caucus victory may be within his grasp if he continues to work the state and stays focused on his message.
“We’ve had the flavors of the month up and down so far this campaign,” he was quoted as saying on CNN. “I’d like to think of myself as the flavor of the decade.”
Quoting Paul’s own strategists, Costa suggested that Paul’s consistency on the issues might end up paying off among Iowa conservatives who can’t seem to settle on one particular candidate over another even four weeks from the caucus gatherings.
“Iowans, after testing [Michele] Bachmann, after testing [Rick] Perry, after testing Cain, and now Gingrich, are realizing that Ron Paul, all along, has been their candidate,” Paul pollster Fritz Wenzel told Costa. “This is becoming a race about principles and Ron Paul has stood up for true conservative principles for decades, not just in the last month.”
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