When Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, added his name to the list of candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination, he did not know what would happen.
He said he joined the race reluctantly to stir a conversation, but then he gained supporters and received donations.
His campaign has set records for the amount of funds he raised through his Web site, and Saturday he placed second in the Nevada primary, behind Mitt Romney.
Even if Paul wanted to become the third major candidate to drop out of the presidential race, "the choice really isn't there," he said.
So long as there are people who are supporting and donating to his campaign, Paul said, he will stay in the race.
And the supporters are still coming. Paul said 6,000 new supporters recently joined and donated to his campaign in one day.
His supporters have even been raising money to keep the Ron Paul blimp flying. So far, the blimp has traveled from Baltimore, Md., down to central Florida.
Throughout his campaign, Paul has been considered a long-shot candidate, but he said he has received more support than former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who the mainstream media considered to be a frontrunner early in the campaign.
"So far he has spent twice as much as I have, but I have received twice as many votes," Paul said.
He said he thinks his campaign's momentum is going to continue, especially with the support of younger voters.
Despite Paul, 72, being the oldest candidate in the presidential race, most of the supporters who are flocking to his campaign are college-age voters.
He said it has been interesting trying to figure out why there has been such an attraction, but he attributes it to younger voters being drawn to his ideas about the Constitution, personal choice, his frankness about the economic system and his opinion about the war in Iraq.
When it comes to the war, Paul said, 70 percent of young people are frustrated, yet the burden of war falls heaviest on younger voters.
Paul said he describes himself as a noninterventionist, because he is against nation building and the war in Iraq, but he strongly believes in strong foreign trade and travel, unlike isolationists.
"If you don't have a noninterventionist, you can expect this war to spread," Paul said.
He also said the government should stop meddling in social issues such as health care and education. The government has offered Americans 35 years of managed health care that costs more and has taken away the freedom of choice, Paul said.
But Paul said he has not been able to get his message out as well as other candidates because he has not received the same national attention from the media.
While the support he has received has not been enough for a breakthrough to win in a large state, Paul said all he can do is to keep doing what he has been doing.
Paul said people who get their news mostly from television are less likely to support him, compared to people who gather their news from the Internet. He said he thinks that means his young supporters pay more attention to the Internet for their news.
And so long as there are potential voters willing to support him, Paul said he will stay in the presidential race.
"I would stay to honor the commitment I've made," Paul said. "Right now I see no evidence the momentum is waning."
© 2008 The Crimson White via U-WIRE