Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
Rep. Ron Paul's presidential campaign strategy of targeting caucus states appears to have fallen flat he is still without a win and with only one caucus state remaining, it might appear time for him to withdraw.
But that is not how the Paul campaign rolls. Instead, the campaign is trying to pick up stray delegates in states that have already held caucuses.
Paul has secured 48 delegates, according to the Associated Press tally, making the total of 1,144 needed to secure the Republican nomination out of reach.
But his campaign isn't worried.
Jesse Benton, a spokesman for the Paul campaign, said the end of the caucus states - at least until Montana meets in June - is "halftime" in its game plan for becoming the Republican nominee.
Like former House speaker Newt Gingrich, the Paul campaign is banking on a primary fight that goes right up until the convention in August.
Although Paul failed to win caucuses in states including Colorado, Iowa, Washington and Alaska, the process of awarding delegates in those states is not yet complete, leaving the door open for the Paul campaign.
Benton explained that while Paul hopes to win delegates in later primaries like California and Paul's home state of Texas, the current focus is using Paul's vast grass-roots network to pick up delegates during state conventions.
The Paul campaign is targeting the local meetings held in counties around the county that are part of the process of choosing national convention delegates, hoping to assure selection of Paul allies.
That process, so far, has been messy.
On Saturday in Missouri, the St. Charles County caucus, one of the state's largest, was shut down after a series of objections to the proceedings erupted into chaos, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Post-Dispatch reported that members of the crowd were "verbally aggressive with event organizers and police officers at the scene," and two Paul supporters were arrested after refusing police requests to leave.
Paul supporters also have been at work in Iowa, where local leaders have said Paul's advocates have attempted to subvert the rules.
In a March 7 e-mail to local Paul supporters obtained by USA TODAY, Paul campaign Chairman Drew Ivers stressed the importance of attending the local meeting where the delegates were being chosen for the next round of convention meetings.
"As a delegate or alternate to your Republican County Convention this Saturday, you have an opportunity to help select which delegates will attend the District and State Convention in Iowa," he wrote. "Remember, all our hard work is meaningless unless we finish the process by electing as many Ron Paul supporters as delegates as possible."
However, once there, the Paul supporters disrupted the process, causing one meeting in Polk County to stretch more than nine hours, according to a report in The Iowa Republican.
Dave Funk, co-chair of the Polk County Republicans of Iowa, said the antics of Paul supporters in Iowa, who have swarmed several county conventions in an attempt to become delegates, have hurt the Texas Republican in the Hawkeye State.
But even by employing these tactics, Funk said, it is unlikely Paul would be able to sway enough delegates to win the nomination on the convention floor in Tampa.
Josh Putnam, a visiting assistant professor of political science at Davidson College and author of the blog FrontloadingHQ, said the delegate fight is the the last hope for the Paul campaign.
"Viable or not, this was likely the only strategy that the Paul campaign had and has in this race," he said. "They knew that going in and have made a concerted effort to peel off as many unbound/unpledged delegates as they can, exploiting the caucus states' rules as a means of getting there."