The Power of Paulitics

With his strong second-place showing, the Texan is no longer a sideshow

Christopher Morris for TIME

Ron Paul

Libertarian Ron Paul, once dismissed as an intriguing, entertaining but irrelevant fringe candidate, has emerged from the first two contests with undeniable clout. Barring some unforeseen drama, he will almost certainly end the nomination season with the second highest number of delegates. Paul, 76, no longer can be called fringe. He captured more than 1 in 5 votes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

In those states, Paul was the only candidate other than Romney with the funds to invest in basic campaign nuts and bolts: telephoning and e-mailing voters, recruiting local leaders and flooding the airwaves with TV ads (many of...

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