LAWFUEL – Ron Paul has spent the bulk of his 2008 presidential campaign relegated to YouTube videos and lecterns at the farthest edge of the stage during Republican debates.
That was before the latest campaign-finance numbers came out. The Paul campaign raised $5 million between July and September. That’s five times as much money as Mike Huckabee, and it leaves Paul with more cash on hand than John McCain.
Riding high on his newfound momentum, Paul takes center stage for a rally and fundraiser today in Nashville, home of one of his largest and most active support groups.
“In the last week, people have come running to join up,” said Cheryl Scott, founder of the Nashville Ron Paul Meetup group, which boasts 372 members, making it the 10th largest group of its kind in the country.
Paul, a Texas congressman whose libertarian politics defies easy pigeonholing, has managed to attract a Nashville following that includes college students, retirees, white-collar professionals, Democrats, Republicans, Independents and people who had never even registered to vote before.
They meet at Bongo Java, a hipster hangout near Hillsboro Village, in the evenings, then spread out across the city, distributing leaflets, waving hand-stenciled signs at intersections.
“It’s kind of a people’s revolution,” said Steve Bryant, who at age 55 just signed on as a Ron Paul volunteer. Preparing to go out leafleting for the first time, he joked that even if the people don’t like what he has to say about Paul, “I figure they won’t hit an old guy.”