by Maisie Allison
John Avlon checks in on the "one candidate who doesn't have to worry about an enthusiasm gap":
The pattern for Ron Paul—the only candidate to have not yet won a primary or caucus—has been slow but steady: in each state he has increased the percentage of his 2008 vote, often doubling or tripling the amount. That’s not enough to win outright, but the caucus strategy depends on organized intensity, and it dovetails well with the proportional allocation of delegates that will dominate the next two months. His Nevada state director Carl Bunce told me that he believed they could deny Romney the 1,144 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination going into the Tampa convention.
But after his third-place finish in Nevada, Maggie Haberman is skeptical:
[H]is performance in Nevada didn’t speak to a tremendous level of strength. There’s no doubt that Paul’s die-hard supporters remain as committed as ever, and he is able to galvanize voters — especially young ones — with an energy that’s been unmatched by the other GOPers in the 2012 field. But if his delegate-slog plan is to work, and have the long-haul impact he is hoping for, he will have to do better in the next round. And at some point, as a movement candidate, he is going to need to win a state.
(Photo of a Ron Paul rally in Freeport, Maine on January 28, from Twitter user @AnthonyNBCNews.)