Ron Paul in the Florida Grassroots: Flea Markets and "Sign Bombs"


Tallahassee, Fla.—Costco cashier Daniel Saindon's flea market booth stands out like a sore thumb.

Surrounded by vendors hawking discount DVDs, buck knives, and cheap memory cards, Saindon's booth champions the presidential candidacy of the libertarian Texas congressman. The 31-year-old, wearing a Ron Paul baseball tee, regrets not setting up the booth sooner but says he just didn't have time. "It's sort of last minute. I wanted to help in some way," he says. 

Saindon estimates that he spent nearly $120 on his Tallahassee Flea Market booth and accompanying campaign materials. He also received some support from the local Ron Paul Meet Up group. When asked about Paul's lack of campaigning in the state, Saindon says he wasn't really bothered by it. "I am totally confident in his decisions. I am sure he's doing whatever he's doing for a reason."

Meanwhile, the other members of the Paul Meet Up group were 15 miles away conducting a "sign bomb" at a major intersection. Local coordinator Stephanie Foster was with them holding signs and motioning to drivers at every red light who looked even slightly interested in what they were doing.  

Foster, 36, was recently let go from her pharmaceutical research job but says campaigning for Paul has helped keep her spirits up. The severance package from her employer has helped, too. "It's like I am getting paid to campaign!" she says. 

Like Saindon, she is OK with Paul not campaigning in the Sunshine State.

"There's been a lot of effort to use grassroots efforts that don't cost him anything," she tells me.

Foster, an Obama voter in 2008, credits Paul with bringing her to libertarianism. Before she discovered Paul she still had faith in "social programs helping people."

Foster also says she would be happy with Paul finishing in third place since he had not campaigned in the state. "If he polls 10 or 12 percent that means it was a success because he is spending almost no money here at all."