In Washington state, Ron Paul has a shot at first win

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Mitchell Landsberg
Los Angeles Times
March 3, 2012

He has the organization. He has the fired-up base. There are just two questions aboutRon Paul‘s performance in Washington state’s Republican caucuses.

Can he win? And will it matter?

The congressman from Texas may have a shot at declaring his first victory of the Republican primary season on Saturday when Washington Republicans gather for caucuses at libraries, community centers, Grange halls and restaurants statewide. He came in a strong third in the state’s caucuses in 2008, and has energized new followers in the four years since.

But Paul still faces stiff competition from Mitt Romney, who has built a strong organization in the state, and Rick Santorum, who has excited social conservatives. And a win by any of them could be fleeting, because the delegates chosen Saturday are not bound to support a particular candidate.

Still, there was a sense of optimism Friday when Paul spoke to an adoring throng of more than a thousand people at the Spokane Convention Center, his second appearance in eastern Washington in two weeks. “We keep coming back to Washington because we expect to do real well here,” he said, in his typically laconic way.

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