Republican Ron Paul said Sunday his upstart presidential campaign is on track to raise more than $12 million this quarter, boldly predicting the Iowa polls "are going to continue to shift" once he's finished spending it all.
Speaking on a cable news network, Paul said he had raised roughly $10.4 million so far in the quarter beginning Oct. 1, an amount that is already double the $5.2 million he pulled in during the third quarter. A big online fundraising effort planned for Dec. 16 could push the fourth quarter's total higher by several million, he said.
"We are going to be way over our goal of $12 million," said the 10-term Texas congressman. "And, I mean, at this rate, it could be, you know, maybe $14 million or $15 million. It just is astounding."
"People are ready for some changes," Paul said. "It really tells me that although I had a great deal of concerns about the country, the American people were equally concerned and they are willing to put their money with a candidate who is willing to state these positions, all of these concerns, whether it is the foreign policy and coming home, or the irresponsible spending here."
Paul, a former Libertarian who stands apart from the other GOP presidential contenders by opposing the Iraq war, was running fourth in Iowa in a recent Des Moines Register poll behind rivals Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Huckabee, and tied with John McCain.
Citing the Constitution as his guide, Paul opposes law enforcement or anti-terrorism measures that he believes encroach on civil liberties. His views on small government extend to reducing if not eliminating the Education Department and the Department of Homeland Security. And he favors limiting immigration and strengthening border security.
Kent Redfield, a professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, said in a telephone interview that Paul's strong fundraising numbers demonstrate how grass-roots efforts via the Internet can help lesser known candidates compete on a more equal footing to higher profile contenders.
"It's a model for other candidates on how to get on the radar and meet the basic threshold of moving beyond being a niche or vanity candidate," he said. "But he'll have to show in New Hampshire and in the caucuses that he can build on that."
Paul said he expects his poll numbers to move up. He has devoted a significant amount of resources on ad buys in the early states of New Hampshire and Iowa.
"People are just starting to think about how they are going to vote in these primaries," Paul said. "The people are really annoyed with conventional politics and we are spending this money. We are spending it in Iowa. So I think those polls are going to continue to shift. Our numbers are going up."