Rep. Ron Paul may not win the Republican nomination for president, but the prospect of him running as a third party candidate in the general election is not off the table, he says.
Paul, long a favorite of the Libertarian Party, is drawing enthusiastic support from its leaders, who are openly pushing him to consider a third party run for the White House.
“Absolutely, that would be fabulous,” said Jim Lesczynski, media relations director for the Manhattan Libertarian Party.
Lesczynski says his party agrees with Paul on most of the major issues, calling him an “ideal candidate.” He added that Paul will do better than he did four years ago, but ultimately thinks he will fail in his bid to gain the Republican nomination.
The Libertarian party would be a perfect ideological fit for Paul, who advocates limited government intervention and hands-off social policy. More than 30 members from the Manhattan chapter of the party actively campaign for Paul.
If Paul did decide to seek the Libertarian party nomination, it wouldn’t be the first time. In 1988 he gained the party’s nod after publicly criticizing the Reagan administration for large budget deficits.
When asked on FOX News this week if he would pledge to not run on a third party ticket, Paul coyly responded that he has “no intention” of doing so.
And he told CNN today that it would cause a bit of a problem for the Republican Party, but wouldn’t “doom it.”
Paul continues to poll well among likely GOP voters, often placing among the top three in polls in important states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. Since September, however, his support has hovered around 8 percent, according to ABC News polls.
Lesczynski said that if Paul wants to run as a Libertarian, he had better hurry up. The party plans to pick a candidate the first week of May.