Ron Paul Supporters are making a major push to try to get support in Tuesday’s primary for the libertarian presidential candidate. More than a dozen workers and volunteers are going door to door and calling voters in the final hours before the polls close in South Dakota this Tuesday, encouraging Republican voters to support Paul.
But the push is not an official effort by the Paul campaign. Instead, it’s being run by a political action committee headed by former Paul campaign official Jared Hendrix. His Conservative Republican Victory PAC has raised more than $25,000 and is focused entirely on supporting Paul in South Dakota. The PAC is operating in South Dakota under the name “South Dakota For Liberty.”
Even though Romney has claimed support from a majority of pledged Republican delegates, Hendrix said it’s still worth fighting to get votes for Paul. “It’s not won until the nomination’s official (at the party convention),” Hendrix said.
And even if Paul doesn’t get enough delegates to win, Hendrix said those delegates could play a major role in promoting Paul’s views in the Republican Party platform.
To win delegates from South Dakota, Paul needs to gain more than 20 percent of the vote. In 2008, he got 16 percent in the South Dakota primary.
Hendrix said the PAC conducted private polling showing Romney beating Paul in a head-to-head match up but predicted Paul’s supporters would turn out in heavier numbers.
Hendrix and his volunteers have rented office space in downtown Sioux Falls, where workers strategize and make calls. Also helping out are some out-of-state volunteers who call potential supporters.
Ron Paul was endorsed back in May by South Dakota State Representative Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids). Hansen represents South Dakota's 25th House District and prides himself on being the youngest current serving member of the South Dakota State Legislature and is particularly proud to count himself among The Mount Rushmore State's many young Ron Paul supporters.
In making public his endorsement of the 12-term Congressman from Texas, Rep. Hansen offered the following statement of praise:
"Ron Paul's consistency and integrity goes unmatched in today's political environment. As a state representative in South Dakota, I know Ron Paul understands the proper role of the federal government, and will restore the proper constitutional balance of power between Washington, the states, and the people. I truly believe Ron Paul has the heart of a servant, looking to the best interest of all Americans rather than to his own self-interest.To restore our country to its constitutional foundation, promote life, support the free market, fix our monetary system, and end war, we must elect Ron Paul for President in 2012."
PolicyMic will be live blogging the South Dakota primary results. Follow the updates HERE:
Tuesday 10:18 PM: Precincts reported: 72%: Romney 66.6% (23,500 votes), Paul 12.3% (4,339 votes).
10:04 PM: Precincts reported 65.6%: Romney 66.5% (21,311 votes), Paul 12.1% (3,900 votes).
9:51 PM: Precincts reported 56.3%: Romney 66.6% (17,999), Paul 11.8% (3,222 votes).
9:29 PM: With 40% of the votes in Mitt Romney has 66.5% (13,226) versus Ron Paul's 12.1% (2,420 votes).
9:18 PM: Mitt Romney has been projected as the winner of the South Dakota Republican presidential primary by holding 64.6% (5,472 votes) of the vote against Rick Santorum's 12.6% (1,070 votes) and Ron Paul's 12.5% (1,061 votes).
9:06 PM: With 13% of precincts reported Mitt Romney has 64% (2,993 votes) versus Paul's 13.7% (637 votes).
8:32 PM: South Dakota Right To Life’s voter ratings have played a big role in Republican primaries this year, with incumbents with poor grades (Tom Nelson, Deb Peters) slammed for them in direct mail.
Now the group has given an annual award to a Rapid City woman who’s trying to unseat Sen. Craig Tieszen in a Republican primary.
Stacey Wollman was given the “Humanitarian of the Year” award for “dedication to pro-life work.”
This schism in the Republican Party that this primary season has evidenced runs pretty deep. It’ll be interesting to watch how — and if — it heals after Tuesday.
7:32 PM: South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant says his office has revamped the state's vote reporting website for Tuesday's primary election. Gant, the state's chief election officer, says the website features a new layout that lets people more easily track the races that are most important to them. He says the site will allow people to designate specific races they can track as votes are counted throughout the evening. The vote count will be displayed on the website beginning at 8 p.m. CDT after polls close in western South Dakota. The election results can be seen HERE.
6:22 PM: What is South Dakota for Liberty? On June 5th, 2012, registered Republicans in South Dakota will vote in the Republican presidential primary. Recently, the official Ron Paul campaign announced it will fully channel its financial resources and staff to delegate and convention operations instead of upcoming primary states, like South Dakota. Consequently, it's up to grassroots supporters of Dr. Paul and his message, to carry the torch and deliver a strong showing on June 5th.
South Dakota for Liberty is a grassroots operation with a team of passionate and experienced campaign workers, volunteers and grassroots activists who are working hard to promote Dr. Ron Paul’s message and assist with presidential primary operations in South Dakota.
South Dakota seeks to draw a clear distinction between the records of Dr. Ron Paul and Gov. Romney and make a successful pitch to primary voters that there is only one clear, true conservative candidate – only one pro-liberty choice.
Why is South Dakota Important?
Ron Paul has polled in 1st place in South Dakota with 22% in a scientific poll conducted by Nielson Brothers Polling. South Dakota sends 28 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. In order for Ron Paul to secure ANY these delegates, he must get at least 20% of the vote.
Dr. Paul has performed extremely well in neighboring states. He won 21% in Iowa, 27% in Minnesota and 28% in North Dakota. The Midwest demographics lend themselves very well to Dr. Paul’s philosophy of limited, Constitutional government.
Tuesday 3:53 PM: Will South Dakota come out in droves in favor of Ron Paul? Last December, undoubtedly so. Apparently, back when the Republican field was a lot more crowded, Ron Paul polled in first place in the state. Though the old survey can't really be counted on, it could be an indicative of how strong Ron Paul's grassroots support still is in South Dakota, especially now that there are only two men left standing.
The Ron Paul campaign has acknowledged 2 official endorsements from South Dakota recently. State Representative Jon Hansen of Dell Rapids who praised Ron Paul's consistency as "unmatched in today's political environment."
Paul also got the endorsement of Rapid City Councilman Jordan Mason who said, "I stand for strong fiscal policy (...) I stand for liberty and I stand for the American dream. And so I stand for Ron Paul."
For live results of South Dakota's Democratic House of Representatives race between Jeff Barth and Matt Varilek, see here.