Many Ron Paul supporters including Ron Paul himself had hoped yesterday’s Maine caucuses would deliver the Paul campaign’s first victory. Given that Romney seems to be back on a roll with the CPAC Straw Poll and Maine caucus, supporters for Santorum and Gingrich in Virginia will be forced to vote for Ron Paul to reduce the proportion of VA’s 46 delegates to the national convention since only Romney and Paul are on the ballot and write-ins are not allowed. To further prolong the primaries and keep doubts about Romney’s base support, many Democrats may switch over to vote in the open primary to push Ron Paul over the edge for his first victory.
The media will be quick to point out that a Ron Paul victory in Virginia was more an anti-Romney vote than pro-Paul and they would be right but the Paul campaign from the beginning has been focused on gathering delegates and not outright winning the primaries. An underreported storyline is how the Paul’s campaign from 2008 has stayed involved with local GOP precincts and has outmaneuvered the other campaigns with detailed knowledge and commitment to the complex delegate processes (many catered for a Romney funded campaign) and may in fact be winning the delegate count despite not getting the votes. Paul’s approach is not being kept secret as Rachel Maddow of all people points out but is being ignored by other outlets which just might make Tampa a little more interesting than expected.