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Ron Paul’s Delegate Haul in Primaries Strengthens Hand at GOP Convention

The Texas congressman’s second-place finish in the delegate tally in Tuesday’s five primaries bolsters his strategy to gain enough clout to mold the GOP platform to his taste come November.

04.25.12 4:15 AM ET

It’s garbage time in the Republican primary and Ron Paul is getting his layups. Even on the unfriendly turf of the Northeast, Paul managed to pick up a handful of delegates in Tuesday’s Republican primaries. Although Mitt Romney’s nomination is all but a foregone conclusion at the GOP convention in Tampa, the libertarian gadfly is still trying to influence the party’s platform by any means available.

The five states holding primaries on Tuesday—Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island—were all prime turf for Romney: heavily urbanized, high-Catholic populations with comparatively moderate Republican electorates. Romney did as well as expected, running the table in Connecticut and New York, and successfully ending Newt Gingrich’s campaign by seizing the winner-take-all state of Delaware. But, in Rhode Island’s proportional race and Pennsylvania’s loophole primary, Ron Paul managed to slip in and grab delegates. In fact, Paul is expected to finish second in the overall delegate haul for the night despite investing almost no effort in the states contested.

Paul is focusing on accumulating delegates slowly but surely. As Rick Santorum noted in his CNN interview with Piers Morgan, “Ron Paul is working the delegates really hard. I can tell you that.” In fact, Paul’s strategy to work the convoluted process in caucus states has him in the catbird’s seat in states Santorum won on caucus night, like Iowa and Minnesota.

The next step for the campaign is to try to maximize Paul's performance in his home state of Texas, which has a totally proportional primary on May 29. Paul spokesman Jesse Benton told The Daily Beast the campaign believes “we’ve got the money and the grassroots support to do what we want to do in Texas” as opposed to other primary states such as Indiana, where Paul is struggling for media attention. The campaign sent out a press release Tuesday, bragging that it had finally opened a headquarters about an hour south of Houston.

Benton acknowledged the increasing possibility that Paul would not be the GOP nominee, but made clear that the “secondary goal of all of our political action [has been] getting limited-government, libertarian-leaning folks involved and taking over the party apparatus.”

Part of the plan for doing that is accumulating enough delegates to give the Texas congressman the necessary leverage in Tampa to mold the GOP platform to his taste. By finishing second in the delegate tally Tuesday night, Paul kept his hopes for doing so alive.