Super Tuesday mystery: Will Ron Paul win his first state?

Super Tuesday could hand Ron Paul his first victory of the GOP presidential campaign. North Dakota presents the most fertile ground, with its caucus format and independent streak. Other promising turf: Alaska and Idaho.

Matt Mills McKnight/AP
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks to supporters Monday during a town hall meeting at the Bonner County Fairgrounds in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Ron Paul is hoping North Dakota will provide him with his first win in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

North Dakota's caucus system makes it potentially fertile ground for the Texas congressman.

In states like Iowa and Maine, his followers have shown strong turnout and devotion in the tug-and-pull caucus process that involves speeches by advocates for various candidates, not merely pulling a lever in a booth.

It doesn't hurt that Mr. Paul himself plans to speak in Fargo, N.D., Tuesday to help make his case to the state's voters.

“We are excited to welcome back Ron Paul to Fargo and to North Dakota on this pivotal day for the state and nation," said Jared Hendrix, the Paul campaign's director in the state, in a news release.

So far, the candidate carrying the torch of libertarian views hasn't won a state outright. But that could change as of March 6.

Ten states are up for grabs, with the biggest delegate prizes like Georgia and Virginia seen by analysts as out of reach for Paul. Media attention in recent days, for example, has focused on the battle between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum for Ohio.

But, in addition to North Dakota, Paul supporters are talking of possible wins in Idaho and Alaska, other Super Tuesday states that combine a caucus system with relatively small populations. 

In North Dakota, where caucus events around the state run from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Central time, voters do not need to be registered Republicans to participate, although they must have an affiliation with the party (voting Republican in the last general election or intending to vote with the party this fall).

Some of Paul's best showings so far in the primary season have been in caucus states, including Iowa (third place, not far behind the leaders) and Maine (a narrow loss to Mitt Romney).

Just a few days ago, Paul edged out Mr. Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, for second place in Washington State's caucus, with support of 25 percent of those participating.

So far, Paul has amassed 37 delegates, versus 173 for former Massachusetts Governor Romney and 74 for Santorum.

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