Ron Paul stops campaign, but not out of race yet

Paul is least popular Republican candidate among Jewish voters when matched against Obama, according to American Jewish Committee poll.

May 16, 2012 05:02
3 minute read.
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes )

WASHINGTON – Ron Paul, a libertarian whose isolationism and opposition to foreign aid is of concern to many Jewish voters, has decided to stop spending campaign resources in the remaining GOP primaries in the face of the insurmountable challenge Mitt Romney poses.

“We will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted. Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have,” he said in a statement Monday, which his staff clarified Tuesday did not mean he was dropping out of the campaign.

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“Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that liberty is the way of the future,” Paul said.

But the announcement indicates that he not only cannot overcome Mitt Romney’s towering advantage in claiming the Republican nomination, but that his campaign has faltered to the point of not being able to maintain what was always a long-shot bid and one that has long trailed far behind Romney’s lead.

Though Paul was never considered a true contender for the Republican nomination, he has captured 104 delegates to date, finish strongly in several states and will likely figure in the Republican National Convention to be held in Tampa, Florida.

There has also been speculation that he would run as a third-party candidate, given the amount of support he’s drawn from outside the Republican party, but analysts assess that he would not want to hurt the prospect of his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, running for the GOP nomination in 2016.

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“My guess is that we’ve more or less heard the last of Ron Paul,” said Kenneth Wald, a political scientist who tracks the Jewish electorate at the University of Florida.

“My sense is that the Romney forces will do everything they can to marginalize” his presence, Wald continued, assessing that was in part because of how poorly his views sit with so many supporters of Israel.

Paul was the Republican candidate who fared the worst among Jewish voters when matched up against US President Barack Obama according to a recent American Jewish Committee poll.

He was not even invited to participate with other GOP candidates at the Republican Jewish coalition conference because of his views on aid toward Israel, opposition to Iran sanctions and other related issues.

“I think Jewish Republicans will be breathing a sigh of relief,” Wald said. “They’ll be happy not to have Jewish voters reminded of him.”

But even with Paul doing less active campaigning in the last few state primaries, Jewish Democrats maintain he won’t be completely out of sight.

“He’s going to have a real seat at the table going forward,” said National Jewish Democratic Council president David Harris. “The Republican Party has totally failed to stand up to Ron Paul’s anti-Israel rhetoric in any way.”

But Wald said that many of Paul’s supporters have come from the Left, particularly those attracted by his antiwar stance, and that many of them will feel comfortable supporting Obama, given his pullout of Iraq and planned withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Wald added that Paul “will always have his brand of devotees, but he’s unlikely to get a critical mass ... to be a major player.”

“The reality is that Ron Paul was never going to be the nominee of the party. His participation was never more than a sideshow,” said Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC). “His message and his candidacy was outside of the mainstream of the Republican Party.”

Brooks dismissed the notion that Paul would have a lingering effect on the attitude of Jewish voters toward the GOP or on the campaign.

“This is an election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, period. It’s not an election of a whole slew of candidates who ran in the primaries,” Brooks said.

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