The 76-year-old, libertarian-leaning Republican's campaign has spent years building networks in other caucus states as well, such as Louisiana, Minnesota and Maine, where a small band of devoted volunteers can exert an outsized influence.
Unlike a primary, where residents simply cast their ballots, a caucus is a local gathering where voters openly decide which candidate to support—a format that favors hopefuls with a dedicated and organized following like that of Rep. Paul (R., Texas).
If he is able to win a plurality of just five delegations from any of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., or the five territories, Mr. Paul can vie for the nomination at the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla. That would allow him a seat at the table when the party decides its platform, giving him leverage to push his antiwar and antitax message.
Jesse Benton, Mr. Paul's campaign manager, said the goal is to win the nomination or force a brokered convention. Short of that, the campaign hopes "to have a sizable chunk of delegates, enough to influence the platform and stop these big-government conservatives," he said. The strategy runs "through the caucus states," he said.
Meanwhile, Texas radio show host Ben Barrack, at Floyd Reports, is urging people to vote for Paul in hopes of creating a brokered convention:
Voting for the best option in a field where none of the candidates meet the standard is hardly energizing. The Tea Party needs something to strive for, an objective, a way to select its nominee of choice.
One way to do that would be to use Ron Paul mania to its advantage and cast their votes with one goal in mind: a brokered convention.
For example, the only two Republican candidates who will be on the ballot in Virginia are Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. All others failed to get the required number of signatures. Whether you’re a Gingrich supporter or a disenfranchised Tea Partier who calls Virginia home, it might be in your best interest to cast your vote for Paul, which would take delegates away from Romney.
One of the Tea Party themes has been to “take America back.” None of the current Republican Party candidates allow them to do that, which is why Tea Party leaders need to start thinking outside the ballot box and start working together for a common cause.
A similar case is made by M. Joseph Sheppard, who sees a vote for Paul as a vote for Palin:
...the very best thing for the GOP would be for Ron Paul, following his strong showing in Iowa, to win or do very well in New Hampshire ( and of course in Virginia where Newt isn't on the ballot at this time). If that were the case then Gingrich would have a very good chance in Florida and South Carolina and the possibility of a deadlocked convention would be very real.
If that happens then what is the reality now, as someone said, the "office seeking the woman" would come into play and Sarah Palin would stand every chance of being drafted in Tampa.
For that reason I urge Palin/Gingrich/Santorum/Bachmann supporters (Perry appears to think he still has a chance, as quixotic as that hope may be) to vote for Ron Paul. I personally would not vote for him in any other states but Iowa and New Hampshire and Virginia if I had the vote there, but to vote for him in those two states is good common sense in my opinion.