ANKENY, Iowa – After a third-place finish in the Iowa Republican caucuses, presidential candidate Ron Paul pronounced himself “satisfied” with the results and vowed to fight on in the next primary event in New Hamsphire.
“I think there’s nothing to be ashamed of, everything to be satisfied, and be ready and raring to move on, onto the next stop, which is new Hampshire,” Paul said to cheering room of 250 supporters. Members of his family, including his wife, Carol, and son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, stood beside him.
Despite worse-than-expected numbers placing him behind Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator, Paul said he was glad to be one of “three winners,” an improvement from his performance 2008, when he placed fifth in the Iowa caucuses.
“We’re three tickets out, which is obviously true, and one of two that can actually run a national campaign and raise the money,” he said, in an apparent jab at Santorum.
Paul’s supporters seemed to agree. Tim Sirianni, Jr., 36, and Joe Corbin, 31, said they wouldn’t vote for an alternative Republican candidate should Paul fail to clinch the nomination. Sirianni supported then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama in 2008, but caucused for Paul this year. He said he was “hoping to win” or at least “get in the top two,” and was disappointed by Tuesday night’s outcome.
But longtime Paul supporter Corbin said he wasn’t surprised. “Is it lower than expected really?” he asked of Paul’s finish. “All I heard all weekend was how Santorum’s surging and that Romney’s gonna win anyway, so it really kind of looks like how they said it. So I don’t know if it’s lower than expected per se, but there’s an element of disappointment there.”
Jeanne Westbrook Smith, a 54-year-old specialty insurance agent, agreed to be a delegate to the Iowa convention Tuesday night. She said she was excited about Paul’s top-three finish but hopes that New Hampshire “is more fertile territory.”
“We have tremendous opportunity to continue this momentum,” Paul said. “ … This movement is going to continue, and we are going to keep scoring, just as we have tonight.”