Ron Paul's best election night

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. (REUTERS / Eric Miller)
On Tuesday night, things for the Republican Party got out of control.

Newt Gingrich, the self-assured candidate that earlier had guaranteed to grab the nomination, dropped off the charts; Romney, the frontrunner, lost in all three states; and Ron Paul, the fringe vote congressman that was ridiculed by the GOP establishment, saw his best night in the polls so far.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum saw resurgence in support Tuesday night, sweeping the polls in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri. It was a showing of favoritism that the candidate hasn’t seen since the early day of the Republican Party race that at the same time reminded America that the right-wing road to the White House was paved for more people than just Mitt Romney. And as that former Massachusetts governor slipped heavily across all three states this week, a message harped on by legions of fans this election year was once more catapulted to a spot in front of every American with their eye on the race: Ron Paul is much more a threat to the establishment than the establishment wants you to think.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul captured a second-place win at Tuesday’s Minnesota caucus, walking away from the state with roughly 27 percent of the vote. Paul had placed in the same position a month earlier at the New Hampshire primary, but bringing in more than a quarter of the votes marked a milestone for the Paul campaign this week, which has relied on heavy campaigning across the caucus states and grassroots support to get this far, despite being heavily ignored by the mainstream media.

It was also second place where Congressman Paul found himself this week, in a separate polling conducted by Reuters and Ipsos that revealed that the Texas representative reached to a higher spot than both Santorum and Gingrich. In that survey, Paul captured 29 percent of the vote, falling only short of Mitt Romney’s 29 percent. Compared with polling from a month earlier, however, Romney has only slipped while Paul has seen a surge with voters.

In Minnesota Tuesday night, Paul beat Romney in a big-time caucus state. If you ask supporters of the libertarian legend, they will tell you that it’s about time.

Discussing the results of the Reuters poll, Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton explains thatit “illustrates that Ron Paul is emerging as the real conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, and that he can also obtain the needed support from Independents and disenfranchised Democrats to defeat President Obama in November.”

As the results came in Tuesday night, the congressman himself acknowledged that more Americans are finally catching on to his ethos of ending wars and decreasing spending that seems to only be gathering more steam along the campaign trail. In Iowa weeks earlier, Paul said. "The enthusiasm is growing by leaps and bounds and crowds are getting bigger.”In Minnesota where he placed the best so far on Tuesday, he said it’s not going to stop anytime soon.

“We had a very, very strong second place — and it’s going to continue,”Paul told a room of supporters on Tuesday night.“We do have to remember: the straw vote is one thing, but then there’s a whole other thing — delegates — and that is where we excel.”

Paul has made caucus states a key campaign focus so far this year and is dead-set on collecting enough delegates to continue fighting towards the GOP convention later this year. In Minnesota, where Paul had finished in fourth place last election cycle, his popularity this time around will help propel him further in the race, he says.

“So when the dust settles, I think there’s a very good chance that we’re going to have the maximum number of delegates coming out of Minnesota.”Paul said Tuesday night. In 2008, he had lost the state well behind Romney, barely collecting 15 percent of the vote.

To ABC this week, Paul revealed, “The next five weeks will determine whether our strategy will pay off.”In Minnesota, where he campaigned the hardest in the past few days, so far things are looking quite well for the congressman.

“We have to just wait and see and continue to do exactly what we’re doing,”he explained.

Paul failed to place in the top-three in the Colorado primary Tuesday and came in third that same night in Missouri. At the last competition, the Nevada caucus, Paul had Santorum by nearly doubling the amount of votes and came in third with just short of 19 percent of the vote.