ABC News' Jason Volack (@jason_volack) reports:
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who comes into today’s Ames Straw Poll as a top-three favorite, set the expectations bar earlier this week.
“Chances are reasonable — if I finish fourth or fifth or sixth – I would not be very happy, it would be very discouraging,” Paul said at a campaign stop in Waterloo, Iowa, on Wednesday. “I certainly hope and expect that we would do significantly better than we did last time.”
Four years ago, Paul finished fifth at Ames, but he has learned since then.
For this election, his campaign was the first to have an office in Iowa. Since he announced his candidacy in May, Paul has visited Iowa at least once a week.
He went on a media binge starting in July, launching TV and radio advertising across Iowa that highlights his credentials as a fiscal conservative.
Paul has also been a prodigious fundraiser this time around. A recent “Ready, Ames, Fire” 24-hour online fundraiser netted $550,000. And Paul raked in more than $4.5 million in the last fundraising quarter, the second most of any GOP candidate.
On Tuesday evening, he embarked on a two-day, five-city Iowa swing with his son Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. At a campaign meet-and-greet in Fairfield, Iowa, more than 200 people showed up.
In Ames – his campaign team made the top bid — $31,000 — to garner the most prominent tent spot at the Aug. 13 Ames straw poll. And his campaign has arranged to bus scores of supporters from across the state to today’s straw poll.