And he is still going.
As of Tuesday morning, the Republican congressman from Texas had already tallied $7.25 million for the quarter.
At that pace, he’ll likely outraise or at least be at parity for the time period with most of the GOP field (not including Mitt Romney’s self-funding).
In an interview, Paul’s campaign manager said the campaign would likely use its burgeoning war chest to broaden its ad campaign.
“It’s reasonable to assume we’ll increase our presence on TV,” Lew Moore said.
He wouldn’t say exactly where, but he did note that the focus is on “the early states” and that the path to victory would be through the “traditional primary process, starting in Iowa.”
“We have offices in Des Moines, Concord and three in South Carolina,” Moore said, citing the capitals of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Paul ads are already on TV and radio in New Hampshire but have yet to go up in Iowa or South Carolina.
Moore said he was surprised — “I cannot tell a lie” — about the amount of money the campaign raised Monday and was particularly proud of attracting 17,000 new donors.
“I think there is a tremendous hunger in America for a politician that is real, truthful and more interested in principle than in having the job,” Paul said in explaining the phenomenon.
The Paul camp did have a hint the money was coming. In fact, though Paul received all his contributions Monday, his big fundraising day was really three weeks in the making.
On Oct. 18, Trevor Lyman, a Paul supporter from Miami Beach, began soliciting pledged contributions through an independent website he registered, ThisNovember5th.com.
The name is a reference to the date in 1605 that a group of anti-Protestant activists unsuccessfully tried to blow up the British Parliament.
The goal was to get 100,000 people to pledge $100 each, for a total of $10 million, which would all be contributed Nov. 5, said Lyman, a 37-year-old music promoter.
Though the goal was not reached, he is still thrilled with the results thus far. “It’s just a website that said, ‘Hey, let’s all donate money on this day,’” Lyman said.
Paul spokesman Jesse Burton said Lyman didn’t coordinate with the Paul camp, but Lyman said he did contact the campaign to sound the alert for an influx of contributions Monday and to encourage the campaign to bolster its server.
Lyman plans another Paul “money bomb” on the weekend of Dec. 15 and 16 — Bill of Rights Day and the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.
“It’s an accumulation of many, many years of frustration with a slicked-down, Madison Avenue-type approach to politics where the only grass roots are very narrow special interest groups,” he said.
Paul’s quixotic run for the White House has never been taken seriously by Beltway insiders, and his GOP opponents have treated the populist iconoclast with a libertarian bent as little more than a nuisance when he has voiced opposition to the Iraq war (and suggested that U.S. actions were partly to blame for the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks) during debates.
Yet Paul raised a respectable $5.3 million during the last quarter and now has raised almost that much in one day — putting him behind only Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama when it comes to fundraising sums amassed in a 24-hour period.
So why is this happening?
One explanation is that Paul’s small but fervent following is particularly receptive to his campaign’s increasingly sophisticated — and successful — Web-based fundraising pitch.
Monday’s remarkable total came as part of an effort mounted by Paul backers, but without the direc support of the campaign, to send a surge of support Paul’s way on Guy Fawkes Day.
Fawkes was a British mercenary who failed in his attempt to kill King James I on Nov. 5, 1605.
Fawkes also was the model for the central character in the film — and graphic novel — “V for Vendetta.”
“What’s so remarkable is that it wasn’t organized by the official Ron Paul campaign,” said David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute.
“It probably is symbolic of what the Ron Paul campaign is — a small staff for a single congressman, and a lot of enthusiastic supporters. ... In a sense it’s an example of viral marketing. He’s never been on the front pages with major media enthusiasm.”
Paul also benefits from what can be called the Howard Dean syndrome.
Similarly to Dean in the last presidential contest, Paul is becoming a vessel into which disaffected voters can pour their hopes, dreams, resentments and grievances.
He is, in effect, what you want him to be.
Many on the left, for example, chose to ignore that Dean was a pro-gun, budget-balancing moderate governor.
They wanted an anti-war, anti-establishment spear carrier, and Dean, a son of Park Avenue, become the unlikely leader.
Just the same, many Paul supporters don’t know or don’t care about his unorthodox views on the gold standard or his opposition to the federal income tax, the United Nations, the Federal Reserve and the World Bank.
They just want a man who will speak truth to power about the war and, more broadly, about a flawed foreign policy that has been hijacked by neoconservatives.
The Paul boomlet is “more about the content than the technology,” said Brian Reich, a Democratic consultant in Cambridge, Mass., who specializes in political applications for new technology.
“The media does a lot to set who the presidential lineup is going to be, and the people clearly have a different view,” added Reich, who suggested that other campaigns take note of how Paul is using technology.
“He doesn’t look guarded. He stands for whatever he stands for, and he’s not afraid to articulate it and talk in detail about it.”
Paul’s rising fundraising totals also make him a factor in the Republican race, if only as a spoiler.
Paul could potentially play a role in both the New Hampshire Republican primary (in which Democrats and independents can vote) and in the general election, should he choose to run as a third-party candidate.
And in the general he could take votes from both parties.
For all the media obsessing over New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a potential centrist third-party savior, it’s not global warming and trans fats that will energize most Americans.
Rather, it’s flash-point issues like the war, immigration and jobs (i.e. trade policy).
And an “America First” candidate — even a libertarian-leaning one — who stood squarely against an interventionist foreign policy, any sort of amnesty and free trade deals would have natural appeal.
Of course, this all may be for naught should Paul decide to pack it in when it becomes clear he won’t be the GOP nominee and return to his role as “Dr. No” on Capitol Hill.
But with the sort of money he is raising and the intensity he is drawing, Paul could be a player should he choose to go forward.
“It’s an interesting question,” Moore said when asked if Paul would consider an independent bid. “Today he has said he would not entertain a third-party run.”
David Mark and Kenneth P. Vogel contributed to this story.