Ron Paul wins Iowa! Does that matter?

June 19, 2012

By , Christian Science Monitor

Ron Paul won Iowa! At the Iowa GOP convention over the weekend, supporters of the Texaslibertarian walked away with 23 of the state’s 28 national convention delegates. Under state Republican rules, those delegates are unbound, meaning they can vote for Congressman Paul in August in Tampa, Fla., if they please. It’s another example of how Paul’s strategy of getting his people organized at the grass-roots level has (somewhat) paid off in the end.

But does this Hawkeye State victory come too late to really much matter in the larger scheme of GOPpolitics?

We’d say yes, no, and no. But before we explain that, let’s stop for a moment to consider Iowa’s multiple 2012 Republican caucus results. We don’t know what they’re putting in the pork cutlets there these days, but looked at as a whole this year’s Iowa vote was positively hallucinatory.

Remember? The first announced result following Iowa’s traditional caucus kickoff to the presidential nomination cycles was that Mitt Romney won by eight votes. Then two weeks later Rick Santorum was certified as winner by 34 votes.

But those caucus votes were a straw poll. Now, months later, it turns out that the people who stuck around and get themselves picked to go to this week’s state convention were overwhelmingly Paul supporters. So that brings us to the third and final Iowa victor, Ron Paul. (Too bad they couldn’t figure a way to let Newt Gingrich win it for a few days, too, just as a gesture to GOP inclusiveness.)

Ron Paul’s campaign is hailing the Iowa results as a big win. “Dr. Paul’s victory in the Hawkeye State affirms his delegate-attainment strategy and it has the added benefit of having occurred in the first-in-nation voting state, also a swing state,” asserts a campaign press release.

But we’d argue the straw poll results had a bigger impact on the GOP horse race than this late-in-the-day delegate win. Michele Bachmann had to do well to survive, and didn’t. Rick Santorum, by contrast, did do well, and kept rising.

“Santorum’s tie/win/close second in the January vote was what affirmed him as the anti-Romney,” writes Timothy Carney on the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog.

However, we’d also argue that the final Iowa results could have an impact on how Ron Paul’s army views their candidate – and that in turn could influence the tone of the pro-Ron Paul rally in Tampa now scheduled for Aug. 26.

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