Ron Paul Sets GOP Fundraising Record, $4.2 Million in 24 Hours

News & Politics
This post, written by Richard Blair, originally appeared on The All Spin Zone

The Republican establishment doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the presidential campaign of Congressman Ron Paul. But, on Guy Fawkes Day, and with Paul raising more than $3.5 million dollars in an online fundraiser in less than 24 hours, perhaps it's the Democratic Party establishment that should start taking note.

You've gotta hand it to Ron Paul supporters - he's raising some serious online cash that the other GOP presidential wannabes could only dream about tapping into.

The third "Ron Paul Moneybomb" started today at 12:01 AM. As of 9PM, approximately 3.5 million dollars have been raised for the Paul campaign. I don't really have the desire to go back and compare this to the 2003 / 2004 Howard Dean campaign (widely acknowledged as the first true internet grassroots presidential campaign), but I can't imagine that even the Deaniacs raised this much money for their candidate in such a short period of time.

Paul's third quarter fundraising was quite impressive, and it bought the campaign some airtime that only the big boys (and girls) can afford. Reviews of his first TV ads were mixed, but the point is, they were actually able to afford an extensive ad buy. That's news unto itself.

Still, I'm fairly certain that the big dogs on the GOP porch are thinking, "Yeah, sure, but Lyndon LaRouche has managed to buy quite a bit of TV time over the years..." in his erstwhile Democratic Party presidential campaigns. It goes without saying that LaRouche never made a dent in Democratic presidential politics (and that was even before he went to jail).

This whole Ron Paul phenomena just has a totally different feel to it. It's still a solid bet that when the GOP caucus and primary results start rolling in, Paul doesn't stand much of a chance. But here's where I think it gets interesting - and why Democratic Party presidential contenders need to take serious note of Paul's campaign.

The Paul campaign is raising a lot of money, but not spending scads and scads of cash. And I'm not completely sure what the rules are, but I believe that if he decided at some point to take an independent shot at the White House (after the Dem and GOP candidates are chosen), he could roll this money over to an independent campaign, as well as mine the network he's built for more.

An independent run by Ron Paul might be the worst case scenario for the Democratic Party, and the best case scenario for the Republicans. Were that to happen, he's not going to peel away a substantial block of votes from the GOP candidate, rather, he's going to pull votes from the Dem. At this moment in time, many progressives are predicting a wide margin victory in 2008 for the Democratic Party, including the presidency. But what if Paul were to end up being the spoiler next year - kind of a well funded Ralph Nader, if you will?

Oy. That's not a worst case scenario for the Dems. That's the nightmare scenario.

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