Polling has been sparse or nonexistent in the states that will hold mid-March caucuses, despite the fact that they hosted some of 2008’s and 2012’s biggest upsets. President Obama’s campaign flooded Western caucuses to gain a delegate advantage that Hillary Clinton never overcame. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum won third place or worse first four contests after Iowa. He only became a threat to Mitt Romney after he took the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses.
Senator Rand Paul, who is currently polling in the low single digits, is hoping that sleepy front-runners and passionate local support will let him repeat history. Interviews with local Republicans suggested only a few campaigns had engaged so far. Only Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has an Alaska chairman. Only Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) has also campaigned in Wyoming. . . [But Paul] never drew less than 300 people to a speech [while campaigning in the West this week], and each one put him back in touch with Ron Paul superfans. Many wore shirts from the 2012 campaign, some of it home-made. . .
[Of concern to Senator Paul, many Ron Paul fans remain disgruntled by the last campaign. In 2012,] the RNC changed caucus rules so that the “beauty contests,” the events most people showed up for and covered, would decide the delegate counts. That decision alienated the liberty movement. It wasn’t enough that their party rejected them. The party had decided that Paul’s painstaking, grass-roots organizing was essentially illegitimate, and could never be repeated. . .
In Fairbanks [Senator Paul] was shuttled around in the black H1 Hummer of two-time U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller. . . Miller served as a living embodiment of what the establishment could do. He had won a 2010 Senate nomination, only to watch the GOP endorse a write-in campaign for Sen. Lisa Murkowski. He ran again in 2014, and nearly won a nomination again.
“Apathy is the problem here,” said Miller. “There’s been some structural crumbling of the Ron Paul movement — that’s probably the best way to put it. There’s a high degree of skepticism, about why you should vote at all, that is particularly pronounced in the interior of Alaska. What we need people to understand is that if we lose America, that’s it. We can’t let that happen. We have to participate.” (Read more from “Who is the Only GOP Candidate Working the Western States and Does He Really Have a Chance?” HERE)