A Purge Too Far?


GOP blogger guru Patrick Ruffini wants to boot Ron Paul from Congress.

Chris Peden is a traditional conservative Republican candidate for Congress in Texas's 14th Congressional district…

Here's what Ron Paul says about TX-14: "If I were to lose the primary for my congressional seat, all our opponents would react with glee."

Give what you can. Ron Paul is running scared — using his Presidential campaign's donors' money to subsidize a desperate last-minute attempt to save his Congressional seat.

The source for that claim is a paraphrase of Mark Elam… I'm going to assume the campaign isn't actually defying federal law and is using its new, rEVOLution-enhanced donor list to raise TX-14 money. UPDATE: Patrick Semmens from the Paul campaign responds:

Patrick Ruffini is wrong, as no money from the presidential campaign is has been transferred to the congressional campaign.  As you correctly note, doing so would be a violation of federal law.

The only way funds from the presidential campaign could go towards Dr. Paul's congressional race would be for Paul to end the presidential run and close the committee.  He has made it very clear that he has no plans to do that.

I've e-mailed Ruffini for a response.

This isn't Ruffini's first call to support a GOP insurgent. Last year he rattled the tin cup for Jim Ogonowski, an underfunded Republican who made a manful effort in an open Massachusetts House seat. (Sadly, Ogonowski passed on another run in favor of a nine-month beatdown by John Kerry.) Maybe a depressed GOP online base will overcome the McCain malady by chucking coins at Chris Peden. Peden could use it: He could sleep a little easier about the $150,000 loan he's given his own campaign. And he could use it to overcome the $315,000 Paul's raised since the start of the quarter.

If the campaign gets close, though, it won't be because of money. It's all about the war—and that makes me skeptical of the purge. Peden isn't sending around flyers about Paul's newsletters or his have-cake-and-eat-it-too earmark policy. He's claiming Paul "blames America for 9/11" and "votes against our troops." (He is attacking Paul on his votes against free trade agreements, so, partial credit.) That's the oxygen for his campaign.

One problem with this campaign that I don't think the joiners have thought through… what does Ron Paul do the day after he loses a congressional primary? His only firm, titanium-strength committment not to run third party came when he… was appealing to donors to save him in TX-14. If the Libertarian Party calls a defeated Rep. Ron Paul on March 5 and offers him its nomination on a silk pillow, does anyone think he tells them to go away?