Ron Paul Is Placing Big Bets on Nevada

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul heads west next week to campaign in the early voting states of Colorado and Nevada.

Although Nevada has been virtually ignored by his rivals, Paul has opened two offices there and unveiled his centerpiece budget plan in Las Vegas last October.

Paul did well in Nevada four years ago, placing second to Mitt Romney, who successfully leveraged his Mormon faith to draw in a sizable number of Mormon voters.

The campaign is seeking to do better with Mormon voters by explaining Paul's fidelity to the constitution.

"The nation is ready for a Mormon president," said James Barcia, Ron Paul's 2012 deputy press secretary. "But the question is, do you want someone who is constitutionally observant?"

Senior campaign aides also admit they are trying to court Hispanics, who represent a quarter of the state's population, through direct mail in both English and Spanish highlighting the congressman's medical background, faith, and family.

The campaign has been running television ads in the state since last summer and senior aides add that they will continue to run ads in the state through the Feb. 4 caucuses.

As in Iowa and New Hampshire, Paul's message will be delivered by utilizing a small army of mostly college-aged volunteers to help with phone banking and canvassing.

Paul's focus on Nevada is part of a comprehensive plan to pick up delegates in caucus states where TV advertising is cheaper and independents can vote.

If Paul comes up short on winning the nomination, Campaign Manager Jesse Benton says that they could use their allotted delegates as a bargaining chip to force the Republican Party to stick to its limited government platform.

Flush with cash from a $13 million fundraising haul last quarter, Paul said this morning he's in the race through the  convention.

"We're going to stay in and see what comes of it," Paul said to CNN.