By Peter Grier, Christian Science Monitor
Hereâ€™s something you hear on cable news all the time: Ron Paul hasnâ€™t won a primary. He hasnâ€™t won a caucus. Sure, heâ€™s stealing a delegate at state conventions here and there, because his forces are well organized. But heâ€™s lost. He should drop out and settle for an early-afternoon speaking slot at the Republican convention.
Hereâ€™s something you donâ€™t hear: Representative Paul actually beat Mitt Romney in 10 states. In a manner of speaking.
What are we talking about? Money, thatâ€™s what. Political pros are fond of talking about the â€œmoney primary,â€ in which candidates compete, not for votes, but for campaign donations. Itâ€™s a crucial part of any nomination race, because a candidate without cash is like a shark thatâ€™s not moving forward, if you understand what weâ€™re saying.
Look at Newt Gingrich: Donâ€™t you think that deep down he really doesnâ€™t want to drop out? But his campaign has run up millions of dollars in debt. Heâ€™s a sinking shark. (He loves zoos and aquariums, too, so heâ€™d understand the reference.)
Paul, on the other hand, is still swimming. In the money primary context, the GOP nomination race has almost always been a two-man contest between Mr. Romney and Paul. Through the first quarter of 2012, Romney raised $87 million and Paul $37 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Gingrichâ€™s soon-to-be-extinct effort garnered $22 million, while Rick Santorum raised $21 million before he dropped out.
Whatâ€™s more, Paul currently has about $1.7 million cash on hand, and debts of $0. Gingrich has $1.2 million cash on hand, and debts of $4.3 million, according to the latest public figures.
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