Is Rand Paul’s campaign getting desperate? Is he laying the groundwork for dropping out of the race? Based on this article, it sounds like Sen. Paul, (R-KY), is attempting to bully his way onto the main stage at the next GOP presidential debate. His argument, though, isn’t persuasive because he’s arguing that he’s running a top-tier campaign because he has lots of staff in Iowa and because he’s raised lots of money.
Notice that Sen. Paul didn’t argue that he’s deserving of top-tier status because he’s got lots of support. In making his argument to Brian Kilmeade on Kilmeade’s radio show, Sen. Paul said “We’ve got a first-tier campaign. I’ve got 800 precinct chairman in Iowa. I’ve got 100 people on the ground working for me. I’ve raised 25 million dollars. I’m not gonna let any network or anybody tell me we’re not a first-tier campaign.”
There’s nothing in there that says he’s got lots of people who will show up on Feb. 1 for the Iowa Caucuses. The question is whether those 800 precinct chairmen are mostly from his father’s presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012. It isn’t unfair to ask Sen. Paul if he essentially inherited a campaign organization in Iowa. It’s fair because Sen. Paul, like his father, is a cult of personality candidate.
His father, Rep. Ron Paul, (R-TX), had exceptionally faithful followers. When Sen. Paul’s father retired from politics, it was assumed that Sen. Paul would run for president and inherit his father’s campaign network.
Sen. Paul was right when he said telling “a campaign with three weeks to go that they’re in the second-tier, you destroy the campaign.” According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls for Iowa, Sen. Paul is in 6th place with 3%. It’s worth noting that Fox doesn’t automatically use the polls included in the RCP average.
Sen. Paul also said that the “voters ought to get a chance,” which sounds fair until you think it through. If Sen. Paul thinks that it’s important that everyone should get on the main stage and that there shouldn’t be an under card debate, why didn’t Sen. Paul raise this point earlier? Why didn’t this become a point of emphasis until his campaign was in danger of suffering a crippling loss?
Make no mistake about it, either. Getting pushed to the afternoon debate would all but officially end Sen. Paul’s campaign. Then again, at 3% compared with Sen. Cruz’s 30% in Iowa, some would argue that Sen. Paul’s campaign doesn’t have a chance of winning anything other than a moral victory.
Frankly, he’s never had a chance to win the nomination. He’s been a niche candidate since the day he announced.