GOP hopeful Paul stumps in Kansas ahead of caucus

By John Milburn

Associated Press

Published: Friday, March 9 2012 6:10 p.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas speaks during a rally, Friday, March 9, 2012, in Topeka, Kan.

Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said Friday he has no numeric goal in mind as he chases delegates in Saturday's Kansas caucuses.

The 12-term Texas congressman said after a downtown Topeka rally with about 500 supporters that he just needs delegates in his bid for the GOP nomination.

"I want to get some votes. I need some delegates and there's a fertile field here," Paul said. "I haven't put a number to it. The more the merrier."

Kansas has 40 delegates up for grabs in Saturday's caucuses, which will be held at 96 locations around the state.

Paul scheduled stops later Friday in Wichita and Lawrence. He also planned to visit caucus sites Saturday in the northeastern Kansas GOP stronghold of Johnson County.

Gov. Sam Brownback met with Paul before the rally and stayed a few minutes before joining former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at another Topeka event. Brownback had endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry before he suspended his campaign in January.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich canceled events in Kansas to focus his efforts on primaries next week in Alabama and Mississippi. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also skipped Kansas to focus on other races.

Paul has yet to win a race in any state. Four years ago, Mike Huckabee was the only GOP candidate to visit Kansas, leading to a sweep of the state's delegates. Paul finished third in 2008 in Kansas with 11 percent, but Angela Davis thinks the Texan will do better this time around.

Davis, 34, and a Paul supporter from Auburn, said Paul should be able to reach the 20 percent threshold to get a proportion of the state's delegates. She said there was a growing base in Wichita and northeast Kansas where Paul had scheduled stops.

"We could do really well," said Davis, who helped coordinate Paul efforts in Shawnee County.

At Friday's rally, Paul reiterated his common themes of cutting government spending, eliminating the Federal Reserve and limiting U.S. military intervention around the world. His remarks on restoring personal liberty and limiting government drew applause from the diverse crowd of young and old Republicans.

Tim Marquitz, 28, spent his lunch hour listening to Paul. The Topeka construction manager hoped that he could make it to a caucus Saturday, though his schedule was full coaching two youth soccer games. He thought Paul's message was relevant to the GOP campaign and was important for him to keep fighting.

"I think for him, he wants to win. He's going to stop at anyplace he can," Marquitz said.

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