Ron Paul Leads Military Donations Race

Ron Paul is leading all candidates in donations from “current military employees,” the Houston Chronicle reports.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, the congressman from the Houston area who opposes the Iraq war, has gotten more contributions than any other White House contender from donors identified as affiliated with the military. According to a Houston Chronicle analysis of campaign records from January through September, Paul received $63,440 in donations from current military employees and several retired military personnel.

Democrat Barack Obama, another war critic, was second in military giving. The Illinois senator got $53,968 during the nine months.

He was followed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, a decorated Navy pilot and former Vietnam prisoner of war, who received $48,208 in military-related giving. McCain has been one of the most vigorous defenders of President Bush’s decision this year to increase U.S. troops in Iraq.


But an official with the American Legion, the veterans’ service organization that has supported the Iraq war, said she didn’t know why military employees support Paul. “I don’t know the rhyme or reason behind it,” said Ramona Joyce. “It’s America. Anybody can throw their money at who they want to.”

At the Texas headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Austin, state adjutant Roy Grona said military personnel do not vote as a bloc. “There’s probably a lot of veterans that aren’t happy with the war in Iraq,” he said. Grona said Paul has been endorsed by the VFW in his congressional races in part because of his support for veterans’ benefits.

Andrew Sullivan, an admirer of both Paul and Obama, comments, “Those tasked to actually fighting this war get it, don’t they?”

Well, maybe. The reporters admit, though, that “many contributors do not disclose their occupations, making it difficult to determine the total extent of military contributions to any one candidate.” More importantly, the amount of contributions are incredibly small, hardly proving much of anything.

Nor can we necessarily infer that the war is the primary rationale for choosing a candidate, even within military circles. After all, avid war supporter McCain got almost as much as Obama.

Demographic factors are likely at work, too. Paul and Obama are particularly popular with very young voters and the military skews young, indeed. And Obama also benefits from the fact that, as a Texas A&M political scientist quoted in the piece notes, Obama “attracts support from many black voters, and blacks are a bigger proportion of the military than their overall share of the national population.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. J. Cline says:

    Actually, considering how little name recognition Ron Paul has gotten, especially compared to the very well-exposed Obama and McCain, his leadership among military donors is really quite significant.

    I’ve been an Army officer for 14 years. I abandoned McCain after I researched Paul’s positions (pro-gun, anti-amnesty, pro-life, anti-Patriot Act, pro-privacy, among others). I gave $2300 to the Ron Paul campaign (under my true name) during his last 3Q push. If I could, I would certainly give more.

    Our foreign policy since 9/11 is a travesty. Ron Paul is the only viable candidate who would do the right thing by my troops, who have fought so hard and so long for such a misbegotten cause.

  2. ken says:

    I’ve mentioned it before how much the military loathe Bush because of his policies. He is just wrecking our nation and the military right along with it.

    McCain has had sky high name recognition for a decade or more so the money given to him is the result of mostly resididual good will.

    Obama and Paul however are both anti war candidates and were essentially unknowns until the current campaign.

    They are recieving contributions from the people in the military for their positions not because of some residual feeling of good will toward them.

  3. Beth says:

    Also not understood by the obsessed Paulbots and other assorted antiwar nutters: the fact that “military employees” includes civil service employees of the various services. That means a GS-7 who works at Whatever Air Force Base in BFE, Idaho has their employer listed as “Air Force.” For all we know, not one of those people is someone in uniform. I’m sure there are some, but it certainly is not all, nor is it indicative of some big antiwar sentiment in the military. For Paultards and Sullivan to extrapolate that idea from this is laughably absurd. If it were only about antiwar sentiment, I’m sure most of those votes would go Democrat anyway–military people are generally smarter than the average third party votard (and really, RP is essentially a “third party” kind of candidate). He won’t even get half as many votes as Ross Perot did, and that’s IF he runs as a third party candidate in November ’08.

    Now watch…the Paulbots will descend upon this post and crap up the comments, because Reverend Doctor Saint Ron Paul the Messiah’s heretics detractors (aka “NWO/government employees”–which is funny considering this post) must be SILENCED!!!

  4. bob in fl says:

    Actually, Beth, most of the comments I have seen from the Ron Paul crowd have been more reasonable than yours. When people belittle or smear a candidate & their supporters, it tells me they are incapable of debating on the issues.

    I wasn’t aware the identifiable military donations were of such a small amount. What I have noticed is whenever he is mentioned in the blogs, the number of comments go through the roof. His people are dedicated & genuinely enthused. I doubt I will vote for him, but I am listening. At least somebody is talking about the corporate takeover of our political system for a change. It’s also great to see integrity on the campaign trail for a change.

  5. Paul says:

    It does seem that the numbers we are talking about at least border on the statistically insignificant. In any case, it it is interesting not just as an anti-war issue, but also in terms of longer term military policy. I don’t know his stance on military spending, but a textbook libertarian would presumably think that the military budget should be cut significantly. (Although Paul’s pro-life and immigration policies seem to drift from the textbook, so perhaps his view on military spending would as well).

    I think I’d rather have a couple dozen more Ron Pauls in Congress rather than him personally as President, but he certainly brings some welcome honesty to an otherwise frustrating crop of GOP candidates. Really, they all think Iraq is a good idea?? The idea of going to war in Iraq could have been come up with as a Madlib, no more likely a good idea than “America must persevere in supporting artichoke prices in Greenland.” Why is no one but Paul, Hagel and a few bloggers willing to call BS? I’m especially disappointed in the WSJ coverage — when did they suddenly gulp the kool-aid?

  6. Christopher says:

    Ron Paul is a kook. Example (of many): He wants to bring back the gold standard and wreck havoc on the economy. Of course he is a doctor so he can barter for his services while the rest of us live in caves.

    For many posters here to claim that military people hate Bush is insane and the type of propoganda they claim to hate.

    Good job, guys.

  7. Pug says:

    Paulbots and other assorted antiwar nutters

    I guess the majority of Americans are “nutters”. Perhaps, Beth, if you want to see a real nutter you should look in the mirror.

    Those who don’t want the war in Iraq ended, the so-called “victory” crowd are outnumbered about two-to-one. Who are the “nutters”?

    I’m not a Ron Paul supporter, but he is the only Republican making any sense whatsoever. When the Republican frontrunner engages the thoroughly discredited and dangerous Norman Podhoretz as his chief foreign policy adviser, there is every reason to call him a “nutter”.

  8. Django Bliss says:

    Just an observation here in New Hampshire… I’ve seen more Ron Paul signs in peoples yards than any other candidate.

  9. Paul Weber says:

    If these (few) military donors think the other candidates are so great why aren’t they donating to them???

    And to the name-callers- Grow up! We “Ron Paul Supporters” take our futures very seriously, this is a very bad time for MOST of America.

    We are tired of being lied to by puppet leaders beholden to large multi-national corporate interests.

    We are tired of having of Illegal Aliens getting preferential treatment.

    Our constitution is being used as toilet paper and you guys are making fun of the only true Patriots trying to save it!

    I guess honesty, integrity and rule of constitutional law is kooky thing in a kooky world.

  10. Mike says:

    Ya gots to a be a Nutter not to
    support Ron Paul, and thas is that.

    Paulbot #123432
    Paultard # 745689
    Votard # 302

    Tanks a lot.