U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas, who technically remains a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, entered August with $2.5 million still in his campaign bank account — money that could help him raise a ruckus over the next few days.
Some of that money may fund his rally in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 26 — one day before the start of the Republican National Convention there that will nominate Mitt Romney for president. The Paul rally is scheduled for the Sun Dome at the University of South Florida.
Paul announced on May 15 that he would stop raising money for his campaign — a little bit more than a month after it became clear that Romney would be the nominee. Still, Paul and his aides have kept looking for delegates to maximize his clout at the convention, with an eye especially on influencing the party’s national platform.
Paul wants the document to include his call for a full audit of the Federal Reserve, the central bank that ultimately he would like to see abolished. Romney today endorsed the audit proposal in principle at a rally in New Hampshire, without specifying whether he backs the comprehensive review Paul seeks.
Exactly how strong and vocal Paul’s presence will be at the convention will be one of the subplots during the gathering that party leaders hope won’t distract from their main aim — selling Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to a national audience.
The Paul forces may not cooperate. His campaign manager, John Tate, last week accused Republican bigwigs in Maine, Louisiana, Oregon and Massachusetts of preventing Paul supporters from filling what he sees as their fair share of slots within the state delegations.
“If the establishment wants a fight in Tampa, rest assured we’re going to give them one,” campaign manager John Tate wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “We will not sit idly by and watch the establishment run roughshod over Ron Paul’s supporters who were illegally railroaded by the GOP.”
It appears the establishment doesn’t want that fight. “We are working to resolve the situation and have had some very positive developments,” said Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign chairman, in an e-mail response to questions about Tate’s comments.
Paul, who turned 77 today, wound up raising $41 million for his latest presdiential bid — surpassing the $35 million he took in when he sought the 2008 nomination.