Ron Paul Sets Online Fundraising Record

Yesterday’s bid to raise $10 million in one day for Ron Paul fell well short. Paul’s campaign will happily settle, I’m sure, for the $4.2 million they brought in, which is easily the most brought in on a single day of online fundraising. He’ll also gladly take the outpouring of media attention.

Ron Paul Raises More Than $4.2 Million,” Jim Kuhnhenn, AP:

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, aided by an extraordinary outpouring of Internet support Monday, hauled in more than $4.2 million in nearly 24 hours.

Paul, the Texas congressman with a libertarian tilt and an out-of-Iraq pitch, entered heady fundraising territory with a surge of Web-based giving tied to the commemoration of Guy Fawkes Day. Fawkes was a British mercenary who failed in his attempt to kill King James I on Nov. 5, 1605. He also was the model for the protagonist in the movie “V for Vendetta.” Paul backers motivated donors on the Internet with mashed-up clips of the film on the online video site YouTube as well as the Guy Fawkes Day refrain: “Remember, remember the 5th of November.”

Paul’s total deposed Mitt Romney as the single-day fundraising record holder in the Republican presidential field. When it comes to sums amassed in one day, Paul now ranks only behind Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, who raised nearly $6.2 million on June 30, and Barack Obama.

Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said the effort began independently about two months ago at the hands of Paul’s backers. He said Paul picked up on the movement, mentioning in it speeches and interviews. “It’s been kind of building up virally,” Benton said.

The $4.2 million represented online contributions from more than 37,000 donors, fundraising director Jonathan Bydlak said Monday night.

Paul has been lagging in the polls behind Republican front-runners. But he captured national attention at the end of September when he reported raising $5.2 million in three months, putting him fourth among Republican presidential candidates in fundraising for the quarter. Paul as of Monday had raised more than $7 million since Oct. 1, more than half his goal of $12 million by the end of the year, according to his Web site.

Paul advocates limited government and low taxes like other Republicans, but he stands alone as the only GOP presidential candidate opposed to the Iraq war. He also has opposed Bush administration security measures that he says encroach on civil liberties.

Ron Paul Raises More Than $4 Million in One Day,” David Kirkpatrick, NYT.

Historians and British schoolchildren remember Guy Fawkes as the Roman Catholic, anti-Protestant rebel who on Nov. 5, 1605, tried to assassinate King James I by blowing up the Parliament. Supporters of the Republican primary campaign of the libertarian Representative Ron Paul may remember Fawkes as a wildly successful fund-raising gimmick.


Mr. Benton clarified that Mr. Paul did not support blowing up government buildings. “He wants to demolish things like the Department of Education,” Mr. Benton said, “but we can do that very peacefully, in a constructive manner.”

Thanks for clearing that up!

Ron Paul says he’s broken one-day online fundraising record,” Mark Memmott and Jill Lawrence, USA Today OnPolitics.

Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican presidential candidate from Texas, says today that he’s broken a record: the record for online fundraising in a single day during the pre-convention primary process.

According to Paul’s campaign, he raised more than $2.7 million online in 16 hours that ended at 4 p.m. ET. The campaign called that “the largest single-day online primary fundraising effort by a presidential candidate in United States election history.”

Ron Paul’s ‘money bomb,’ records and lessons,” Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune‘s The Swamp blog.

That so many people have invested so much in someone who stands such little apparent chance of winning his party’s presidential nomination, let alone the White House, speaks volumes about alienation in modern American politics.

It is the same alienation that once handed H. Ross Perot close to 20 percent of the presidential vote. It is the same alienation that handed Ralph Nader just enough of the vote to deny Democrat Al Gore an Electoral College victory to accompany his popular-vote majority.

It is people voting for someone other than the establishment, odds be damned.


In one day, the Paul campaign asserts, about 25,000 supporters had contributed to the building of the “money bomb.”

This is the bombshell which Paul suggests he needs to convince “the mainstream media” that he is a real candidate.

There’s one problem with this financial calculation. There are only so many times that the same 25,000 people can contribute — an equation which Democrat Howard Dean encountered, in somewhat larger numbers, albeit with the same ultimate result, in 2004 — and it’s unlikely that all of them live in Iowa, or in New Hampshire, where money might translate into the votes necessary to catapult someone into the second stage of the primaries.
Dean ran up record-breaking fundraising tallies in his upstart — and also anti-war — campaign for president. But his campaign was undone literally overnight by an under-performing turnout in the Iowa caucuses, and finished off with his own scream heard ’round the world.

Ron Paul’s Cash Flow,” Stephen Dinan, national political reporter, The Washington Times:

At this point, Paul’s ability to raise money is not in question. But his skill in translating that sizable campaign treasury into voters at the caucuses and primaries still is.

Rasmussen Reports’ seven-day tracking poll ending Nov. 4 shows Paul garnering 3 percent of likely Republican voters, the same as fellow Rep. Tom Tancredo. Paul’s campaign says polls are a poor predictor of his voters’ support.

Another Ron Paul Surge,” Dave Weigel, Reason :

Even if you don’t like Paul, you have to gasp at what’s happening in the GOP race. There are three phenomenons running in tandem: Paul’s fundraising, Huckabee’s cash-strapped poll surge, and McCain’s running-on-fumes poll comeback. Anybody working for the Rudy-Fred-Mitt power trio has to wonder why the Republican base is so hungry for these other choices. (Also, more reason to ignore the campaign finance reformers who whine about big money trumping ideas and good people in politics.)

Ron Paul’s Record Online Haul,” Jose Antonio Vargas, WaPo‘s The Trail blog:

Today, Nov. 5, marks not only Paul’s best fundraising haul in a single day — approximately $3.75 million by 11 p.m. EST — but online observers say it’s also the most money raised by a candidate on the Web in a single day. And the day’s not over yet. “Damn. Wow. Um, that’s pretty awesome,” said a stunned Jerome Armstrong who served as Howard Dean’s online strategist. Armstrong, the founder of the popular blog MyDD, said Dean raised as much as $700,000 in one day toward the end of the primary race. “But not a million,” Armstrong added. “What Paul is doing — or what his supporters are doing — is really impressive.”

Paul supporter Avery Knapp Jr., guesting at TechPresident, explains “The Power of Flashmob Fundraising.”

People respond well to seeing their names up in lights on their hero’s campaign website and getting immediate feedback about their contributions. At a recent lecture showing the rolling names of donors projected behind the lecturer, the author and his girlfriend were tempted enough to donate using a blackberry and cheer in the back; the lecturer mistakenly thought the cheers were for his speech. Perhaps this feedback is a reason the open-source approach to presidential fundraising is likely to continue and increase. Perhaps one day the Federal Election Commission monitoring of election finances won’t even be necessary as campaigns will make all fundraising data public.

I tend to agree with Silva that, as impressive as it is to harness to thrill of a focused event and the enthusiasm of a hard core of supporters, it’s unlikely that this haul will catapult Paul into serious contention for the Republican nomination. There just aren’t enough people who truly want to do things like shut down the Department of Education. Still, the viral nature of this will at least allow him a window for making that case.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, 2008 Election, Blogosphere, Congress, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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. Fausta says:

    It’s the deep-pocketed Ronulans, I tell ya!

  2. libertarian says:

    If he can use this money to put his record of not voting for tax increases & unbalanced budgets in the right place, say conservative radio ads, he’s probably going to reach a lot of people who aren’t on the internet or aren’t hearing about him on the MSM.

    I love to see his successes but I also doubt he’s going to win the primary. Even if he did, I doubt he’d find much legislative support from either party. Anyway, sometimes, even a loss can influence the debate. I’ve noticed that Fred Thompson is also trying to angle some answers in a federalist context, its just not winning him the support it does for Paul.

  3. VAT says:

    There just aren’t enough people who truly want to do things like shut down the Department of Education.

    I am a former educator and I would love to see the Department of Ed shut down. It is a waste of money. I think local control over our schools and money used locally is more beneficial for the students. Department of Ed is just a middle man that is costly and harms our own control over our children’s education. Get the FED out of my child’s education.

    My child attends private school and I know many homeschoolers support Ron Paul. Americans tend to like to control their own child’s educational destiny opposed to the federal government telling us what is best for our children.

    Ron Paul Revolution.

  4. Tex MacRae says:

    What VAT said. Local control of education and elimination of Fed control of schools was a major plank of the Republican party until 2000. Do you really think we’ve all forgotten that? Are you really saying Republicans are all on board with a Federal bureaucracy created by Jimmy Carter?

  5. James Joyner says:

    Local control of education and elimination of Fed control of schools was a major plank of the Republican party until 2000.

    We had a Republican president from 1981-1993 and did nothing about that plank, either.

  6. Michael says:

    Even Kos has praise for the campaign, if not the candidate:

  7. Brent Leatherman says:

    I was very intrigued by a comment from one of Paul’s campaign staff: “The entire notion of Bush saying he is the decider when 70 or 80 percent of the country wants out of the war is ridiculous. He acts like a dictator.” This resonated with me greatly.

  8. VAT says:

    Waste and fraud is alive and well because the Department of Education exists. Corporate entities and other presidentcial leaches are there for handouts for their own personal interests. They certainly do not care about my child’s educational well being.

    It is time that Americans stop the abuse. We fund the Department with OUR money and most likely money loaned to us from China. And this is what we get in return?

    I think Americans have lost their way. Yet, many are waking up and want better for our nation, ourselves and our children.
    I think people are tired of MSM and the manipulation we feel coming from both parties. Both parties are owned and controlled by corporate interest and lobbyists. We feel our own power diminishing in so many areas of our lives.

    The education of our children is just one of many areas we have given control over to the government and they want more control. Did you hear about how they want to do mental health screenings on all children and pregnant women? Hmmm who does that benefit? The pharmaceutical companies, perhaps? Who can donate more to a presidentical candidate; you or a pharm company?

    On a positive note. I was happy to see so many people behind the Ron Paul money bomb. These are real American (all ages, all colors, all parties) that are behind Ron Paul. These donations were not coming from corporate entities!

  9. rhys says:

    I have read the so called scientific polls. They are available online. Most of them just ask which of the front runners you would vote for, and then they list the front runners.

    Also, in the last primaries only 7% of registered Republicans came out to support the shoo-in incumbent Bush. Why would anyone who was so hard-core as to support Bush when he couldn’t lose, claim that they support ‘other’ in a telephone poll, when there are so many candidates which support Bush’s legacy right in the first poll question? They wouldn’t, and the scientific polls are a scam. They are just a way to sell something reportable to the MSM and the MS Parties.

    A much more accurate gauge of voting power is in the Straw Polls. Anyone who would spend their free time voting in a straw poll cares enough to make it to the voting booth on election day. Ron Paul dominates the Straw Polls.

  10. NH_GOP says:

    We’re not voting against anyone. We’re voting FOR RON PAUL.

    We’re sick of the Marxism and World Government that all the others offer.

  11. NH_GOP says:

    Fed control of schools translates to UN control of schools. Just ask someone who worked in them for 35 years. Time to demolish the dept of education as they do NOTHING for local education. NOTHING.

  12. Bandit says:

    “The entire notion of Bush saying he is the decider when 70 or 80 percent of the country wants out of the war is ridiculous. He acts like a dictator.” This resonated with me greatly.

    You seem to have a profound lack of knowledge of basic civics.