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Politician Ron Paul has served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Texas multiple times. His politics are a mix of Republican and Libertarian views.
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While he came in third, Paul received almost 500,000 votes in the general election.
In the mid-1990s, Paul returned to the Republican Party and fought Greg Laughlin—a Democrat turned Republican—for his party's nomination for a seat in the House of Representatives. The odds were against him as Laughlin had wide support from the party and from deep-pocketed organizations such as the National Rifle Association. Despite the opposing forces,
Paul was able to defeat Laughlin and win the general election in 1996. He has remained a member of the House of Representatives ever since.
Over the years, Paul has maintained a steadfast consistency on executive power, taxation, and pro-life issues. Unlike many of his Republican peers, he voted against the Patriot Act and against the Iraq war. Paul did, however, support the U.S. military action in Afghanistan. He has voted against farm subsidies and regulating the Internet, which is in line with his interest in reducing government spending and the role of the federal government. In addition, he has expressed his opposition to the war on drugs, saying that the government's efforts have actually been a war on doctors. This and other controversial opinions have often caused tension with his Republican counterparts.
It is this mix of traditional conservatism and libertarianism that makes Paul such an unusual presidential candidate. Since throwing his hat into the 2008 Republican presidential nomination race, he has garnered a lot of support from diverse circles. Some like his ideas about economic policies whereas others see him as the anti-establishment candidate. While the mainstream media gives him little coverage, Paul's vision for America has been spread by his extensive presence online. The Internet has also been a financial boon to him. On November 5, 2007, a group of his supporters raised more than $4 million in one day for his campaign. The date was no accident—it was Guy Fawkes Day, a British holiday that remembers the attempted destruction of the Parliament building—with the king inside—by a rebel named Guy Fawkes. While Paul “wants to demolish things like the Department of Education,'' as one of his spokespeople told The New York Times, ''but we can do that very peacefully, in a constructive manner.''
Although didn't win the nomination, Paul came in fifth at the Iowa caucus on January 3 with approximately 10 percent of the vote, beating out the better-known candidate Rudy Giuliani. But he finished last in Wyoming's caucus two days later. At the much-watched New Hampshire primary, Paul had a fifth place finish, beating Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter. On Michigan's January 15 primary, he came in fourth ahead of Giuliani, Thompson, and Hunter.
By late January, Thompson, Giuliani, and Hunter had all dropped out, but Paul remained in the race. Even after February 5, also known as Super Tuesday because of the number of primaries, Paul stayed in despite not winning a single state.
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