Here comes Ron Paul in Iowa

It seems unlikely but in this extraordinarily volatile election season, anything is possible.

Ron Paul has surged into second place in Iowa, ahead of Mitt Romney and just 7 points behind frontrunner Newt Gingrich.

Andrew McDowell at IBD asks the question: Can Ron Paul win?

Elderly, iconoclastic Rep. Ron Paul, the longtime champion of meaningless straw polls, is now doing it where it counts in the ongoing struggle for the Republican presidential nomination.

A brand-new Iowa Poll, just published by the Des Moines Register, reports the often-dismissed 76-year-old Paul has surged past one-time front-runner Mitt Romney and moved into second place, with his sights set on the current front-runner Newt Gingrich.

According to the new poll results, Gingrich leads the pack at 25% of likely caucus-goers with less than a month until they're held. Paul is second with 18% and Romney now trails with 16%.


Romney has not been working to win in Iowa, having been spanked into second place there four years ago by Mike Huckabee. Gingrich didn't open his first Hawkeye state campaign office until this week.

However, Paul's people are not just supporters; they are disciples, some even willing to doff their clothes for him, as we wrote here. They will also stand (clothed) for windy hours with signs on Interstate overpasses for their guy.

And all fall while other candidates rocketed up and flamed out, the Paul campaign, his third for the presidency (1988 and 2008), has been seeking volunteers from across the country to travel to Iowa for pre-caucus campaigning.

Paul's secret weapon is the passion of his supporters. They are more likely to turn out for the caucus process - which is really a glorified straw poll anyway - than any other candidate.

And with Gingrich just starting to organize in Iowa, there is a possibility - remote, tantalizing, but nevertheless real - that Ron Paul could shock the GOP on caucus night and come away with a victory.

He has proven that he can raise gobs of money on the internet. He has shown increasing strength in New Hampshire. His standing in the national polls has been climbing.

Is Ron Paul about ready to take off? God help us, but the notion can no longer be dismissed out of hand.

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