Whatever happened to Ron Paul? Remember him?
Beginning tonight at California State University, Chico, Paul will accelerate the pace of his campaign and attempt to become part of the national conversation once again. Over the next 40 days Paul will hold rallies at 16 college campuses across the country -- a majority of them in California and Texas -- with plans of adding several more stops before schools adjourn for the summer.
Universities have been a friendly atmosphere for the 76-year-old presidential hopeful who attracts thousands of people to his rallies but who has yet to win a single statewide GOP contest.
“You have to reach out to more people than the Republican base,” Paul told WMAL Radio on Monday. “We’re going to have big turnouts in places where no other Republican can go. I’m going to go to Berkeley.”
Paul will hold a campaign rally on that campus Thursday -- not a typical stop for Republican presidential candidates.
According to Paul’s campaign chairman Jesse Benton, that’s the point. “Part of the reason we are going to college campuses is to register people. There are congressional districts we can win and we hope to register thousands of young people for the California primary.”
The deadline to register to vote for California’s June 5 presidential primary is May 21, and the campaign hopes the passionate young supporters they register will help Paul win a portion of the state’s 159 delegates –- which will be allocated based on the primary results in each of the 53 congressional districts.
The campaign is also focusing its efforts in Paul’s home state of Texas, which holds the second-largest number of delegates, scheduling six rallies at state universities.
Paul is also planning a statewide TV ad buy next week, six weeks ahead of the open primary on May 29.
Benton, who also resides in the Lone Star state, said Texans are “slow to embrace a moderate from Massachusetts and they want to vote for a Texan.”
“We are going to push real hard to let them know they have a strong, fiscal conservative Texan in the race.”
Benton said the campaign is adding staff in Texas and he will be heading up the state’s operation.
Looking even further down the calendar, Paul plans to speak at five state conventions in an effort to win over delegates to secure the minimum threshold needed to be nominated at the Republican National Convention in August.
“We don’t plan to get out of race until Dr. Paul is the nominee or someone else is the nominee,” Benton said. “The scores of people across the country want to vote for a constitutionalist, a real conservative, who can bring real change to the White House and they deserve to be heard.”
That said, Paul has won just 34 delegates so far, according to NBC's count. Mitt Romney has 490, Rick Santorum 203, and Newt Gingrich 137.