Presidential hopeful Ron Paul's hopes for finally notching an elusive first win of the 2012 presidential season were dashed Tuesday when all three states on which he was betting handed him defeat.
Paul is the only candidate who has failed to win an election contest, including the 10 Super Tuesday states.
But the Paul campaign remained optimistic despite the odds stacked against him. "This country is ready and raring," Paul told several hundred supporters at a North Dakota caucus site Tuesday in Fargo before losing the state to Rick Santorum.
The Texas congressman, 76, is sticking with his strategy of focusing on caucus states and some open primaries. He had placed big bets on three of the Super Tuesday states: Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota.
Rick Santorum won North Dakota and Mitt Romney won Idaho and Alaska, where Paul visited this weekend. He is the only candidate who visited the state, while the others sent delegates or held teleconferences.
Paul then went to Idaho, which offered 32 delegates. And although Romney, Santorum and Newt Gingrich campaigned in the state, only Paul had a physical campaign office there.
Tuesday was Paul's third visit to North Dakota in the primary season, after a February tour of the state and an event in Fargo in November.
Paul's state headquarters, tucked into a small Bismarck office across the street from the city's federal courthouse, has been running for almost four months.
Paul's presidential campaign has collected more than $50,000 of the $152,000 in North Dakota contributions reported so far, according to Federal Election Commission disclosure reports.
Although Paul admitted that his chances of winning the Republican nomination "are slim," he shows no sign of slowing down. "While other candidates are focused solely on the beauty contests to get the headlines, we're undertaking a comprehensive strategy that I am confident can lead to the nomination," Paul said in a statement released Monday.
Paul is already planning campaign events in Kansas Friday and Missouri Saturday.