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ron paul louisiana Kid Reporter Christopher Pate (foreground) waits to ask Ron Paul a question after a campaign event in Pineville, Louisiana, on Friday, March 23. (Photo courtesy Christopher Pate)

Election 2012: Ron Paul Campaigns in Louisiana

Republican candidate works hard to prove himself

By Christopher Pate | null null , null

Before Louisiana voters headed to the polls on Saturday, they heard from the four Republican candidates for President about why they should be the party's nominee. Central Louisiana saw Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul speaking to supporters, as well as to those who are still trying to decide who will win their votes.

On Friday, Louisiana College in Pineville was visited by Dr. Ron Paul. He spoke to hundreds of supporters in Guinn Auditorium.

Paul was introduced by Dr. Joe Aguillard, the President of Louisiana College. He called Paul "a man of courage, deep conviction, and brilliant intelligence." Paul then took the stage and delivered a speech in which he spoke about his main concerns for our country. One was the national debt, which he vowed to lower greatly.  He also spoke about limiting government by restricting its power, which he said regularly violates the constitution.

The rally audience was largely made up of a younger crowd. Jacob Jolibois is a student at Louisiana College and was at the rally. Jolibois said that even though Ron Paul is 76 years old, his message resonates with young people.

"I think [young people are here] because he has very conservative views that are a lot different from the liberal views of a lot of the candidates," Jolibois said. "Especially at this college, he's pushing views that are more radical than other people will hold to – and teens tend to go for the radical stuff."

After the rally, Paul's supporters — young and old — were enthusiastic about the candidate.

Karl Bilderback from Shreveport, Louisiana, said the he's a supporter of just about every position Paul has.

"I like his ideas on liberty and ending the Fed," Bilderback said. "I don't think there's anything he's talking about as a major part of his administration that I would be against."

Paul has attracted a lot of people to his rallies, but he has had a hard time winning votes.

In the 2012 election, Paul has not won a primary or caucus and is last among the four candidates in total number of delegates.

I spoke to Paul and asked him if there would be any circumstance or polling result that would cause him to consider dropping out of the race.

"Well, not likely until we see who's winning," he said.  "You're citing the straw votes and they don't have an effect on the delegates.  The delegate process is ongoing.  Even though many of those elections have been announced, the delegates haven't been announced yet.  We still have a ways to go, there's no doubt about it, but there are no plans for dropping out."

Paul finished in fourth place in the Louisiana primary with 6.1 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum won the primary — and 10 delegates — with 49 percent of the vote, followed by Mitt Romney (who won five delegates) with 26.7 percent and Newt Gingrich with 15.9 percent.

Despite current polling results and low primary numbers, Ron Paul and his supporters remain optimistic and enthusiastic about his future in the presidential race.

After Paul's rally on Friday, Randall Loeffler of Alexandria, Louisiana, said he thought Paul was in the race for the long haul.

"I think that there is so much going on, we don't know the results – and there's no way the news media can know it right now," Loeffler said. He added that a clearer picture will be painted after next month's Louisiana caucus.

Voters in Louisiana have a second chance to have their say in the Republican race to the nomination. The state holds its caucus on April 28. Twenty-six delegates will be awarded based on the results of the caucus.


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