DES MOINES — Ron Paul may have officially come in third tonight, but if the campaign’s caucus strategy went off as planned, then Paul may actually be the real winner of the first Republican voting contest.
That’s because Paul’s massive organizational push in Iowa focused on both winning votes, and also on making sure that Paul supporters stuck around after the vote to make sure they were selected as county delegates — the first step towards being elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
That’s because Iowa’s Republican caucuses are non-binding — they are technically just a straw poll, so once selected, delegates are free to vote for whichever presidential candidate they choose.
“Part of what we’ve been training the Ron Paul people to do is not to leave after the vote,” Dan Godzich, a senior campaign advisor, told BI. “Stay and get elected to the conventions and get us those delegates.”
Godzich and Sydney Hay, another Paul advisor, crisscrossed Iowa in the weeks leading up to the caucuses, making sure precinct leaders knew what to do and organising slates of delegates that would ensure Paul walked away with a strong majority, even if he lost the caucus’ straw poll vote.
By the eve of Election Day, Hay said she was confident that Paul would come away from Iowa with a strong majority of the state’s delegates. It’s a good first step toward making sure that Paul has a strong presence on the floor in Tampa this summer — something that his supporters believe will help force the Republican party to start reckoning with their Movement.
UPDATE: 1:40 a.m.
Sources close to the Paul campaign indicated Tuesday that they were happy with their delegate count. Although we couldn’t get specific numbers, a source told Business Insider that Paul nailed down the delegates in all of Iowa’s smaller counties, and made a strong showing in several larger ones.