Ron Paul Raised $1 Million Overnight

Catering to the fringe of the Republican Party pays off

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A donor drive on Rep. Ron Paul's web site, timed to the his debate against four other B Team Republican candidates, has brought in $1 million for his presidential campaign. The libertarian Paul has a deeply devoted, well-organized fan base, which showed up in large numbers for the debate and cheered loudly as Paul declared he'd pull out of Afghanistan, abolish the Federal Reserve, let people do heroin if they want to and marry the same sex if that's their thing. In other words, Paul is very, very unlikely to win the Republican nomination. And yet the money is pouring in.

The Republican's more mainstream candidates, however, have been having their share of fundraising woes. President Obama aims to raise $1 billion for his 2012 reelection campaign, well above his record-breaking $750,000,000 in donations in 2008. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, an establishment candidate, decided not to run last month in part because he doubted he could match Obama's fundraising pace. "He's going to have $100 million in the bank before any of the Republican candidates catch their breath," one of Barbour's advisers told NBC News' Michael Isikoff.

But candidates catering to the fringes of the Republican Party seem to be having an easier time raising money: last quarter, Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann beat presumed frontrunner Mitt Romney in fundraising. She raked in $2.2 million--much of it in small donations--while he raised $1.9 million.

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This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.