What's Ron Paul up to?
(CBS News) Mitt Romney is largely accepted as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but he's not the only candidate left in the race. Texas Rep. Ron Paul continues his quest for delegates.
The three-time presidential candidate is committed to staying in the race until the Republican Party's convention in Tampa at the end of August.
Paul is spending his time in two states with upcoming primaries. On Sunday, Paul will hold a Tea Party rally in Austin, Texas, which holds its primary on May 29. Before then, he is spending the week holding a series of rallies at or near college campuses in California, which holds its primary on June 5. He's also hosting multiple fundraisers.
As Paul continues to campaign on his message of small government, his passionate supporters are helping him influence the delegate count.
"The goal is to work as hard to get as many delegates as possible to see what happens," campaign spokesperson Gary Howard told Hotsheet. "The plan as it has always been is to work hard in the caucus and convention states."
A look at CBS News' estimated delegate scorecard would suggest Romney, with 865 delegates, has eclipsed Paul, who has 78. But the Paul campaign disputes those numbers, arguing the initial delegate estimates don't give the whole picture. Even in states that have already voted, the campaign is still working the process by "reaching out to state delegates" and persuading them to support Paul.
The Paul campaign knows very well that the Republican primary is a race for delegates and not a race for votes. For many states, including those that hold caucuses, delegate allocation does not necessarily correlate to voter preference.
Howard points to the campaign's efforts in states that undergo a lengthy, multi-step convention process to allocate delegates. Paul's supporters are are involved at the grassroots level. They have learned the system and have engaged in Republican Party infrastructure.
For instance, in Louisiana, Paul's campaign said he won 74 percent of the 150 state delegates at Louisiana's state convention last weekend, despite placing fourth and obtaining only 6 percent support in Louisiana's primary on March 24.
The libertarian-oriented candidate is also out-performing in the delegate race in Colorado, Iowa and Minnesota. And in Romney's home state of Massachusetts, state delegates backing Paul picked up a majority of slots.Howard said the campaign won't know its true delegate count until next month, when the states complete their conventions and finalize their delegate count.
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