Texas Congressman Ron Paul — a likely presidential candidate in 2012 — has taken steps to organize not only for next year’s Iowa Caucuses, but for the Republican Party’s Straw Poll in August.
“Had a lot of pressure from the grassroots to move it along, so we did,” Paul said this afternoon during an interview at the statehouse.
Paul has hired the man who helped lead his son’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in Kentucky in 2010 to head his Iowa campaign as well as four other staffers who’ll to sign up supporters in the state.
Paul has run for president twice before, as the Libertarian Party’s nominee in 1988 and, in 2008, Paul sought the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. Paul’s effort in 2012 is much more robust than his barebones campaign in Iowa four years ago.
“I think the events are moving in our direction, you know, because of the financial crisis and because of the bogging down in these endless wars and because of the spending that is endless,” Paul said. “And we’ve been talking about those problems for a long time and now people are starting to worry a little bit…Maybe they’re worrying a whole lot and they have to do something.”
Paul won the past two “straw polls” at the national Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. and the man who led those straw poll efforts is now in charge of Paul’s Iowa campaign. Getting a “head start” in organizing for the Iowa Straw Poll is a top priority, according to the congressman.
“I think that cannot be ignored,” Paul said, with a laugh. “And it means a whole lot.”
Paul went to the statehouse this afternoon to meet privately with House Republicans who are debating property tax reform proposals. Paul, who climbed two flight of stairs rather than take an elevator to get to a House leader’s private office, is 75 years old and if he is elected president Paul would be 77 on inauguration day.
“You know, I don’t think in those terms and I’m not sure that people do. But I think they look more for the ideas, you know,” Paul said. “I think the age is insignificant as compared to how young and exuberant the ideas are.”
Paul joked that no one really knows how old he is because he “fibs” all the time about his age. And he rejected the idea John McCain’s age was a factor in the 2008 election.