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Why Ron Paul is still in the presidential race

Recent delegate counts show that Ron Paul is picking up a part of the anti-Romney protest vote, and he remains popular among young voters, but it's unclear if that will amount to anything. 

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Paul’s leverage may be enhanced by the fact that he appears to be picking up some former supporters of Rick Santorum, who are turning to him as the means for an anti-Romney protest vote.

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For instance, at Colorado’s state GOP convention last weekend, Paul and Santorum supporters joined in a “Conservative Unity Slate” to win national convention delegate spots that the Romney forces had thought would fall to them.

The Paul/Santorum forces won 13 of the Colorado delegates chosen by congressional district. The Romney forces rallied to take at least eight at-large delegates, according to the Denver Post.

Paul’s continuing strategy of focusing on delegates as opposed to straw-poll beauty contests also paid off last week in Minnesota. Of delegates and alternates chosen last week by the Minnesota GOP in congressional district meetings, the Paul forces were “18 for 18: 9 dels/9 alts,” tweeted Pat Anderson, a national committeewoman from Minnesota for the Republican National Committee.

Paul’s campaign crowed about these successes last Saturday, issuing a release saying that the Texas libertarian “achieved consequential delegate wins in Colorado and Minnesota today, affirming his delegate-attainment strategy and auguring a prominent role for Paul at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.”

The fact is, however, that “consequential delegate wins” is in the eye of the beholder. According to the Associated Press delegate tracker, Paul has won 52 delegates. Santorum, in contrast, had 270 when he dropped out. Romney has 684 and counting.

Going forward, Paul is thus facing the somewhat difficult task of continuing a campaign devoted to spreading his ideas without appearing as if he is out-of-touch with electoral reality.

RECOMMENDED: The roar of Ron Paul: Five of his unorthodox views on the economy

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