Ron Paul, after largely ignoring the primary campaign in Florida, was ignored by the state's voters tonight, pulling in a scant 7 percent of the vote and finishing last among the four remaining Republican contenders.
Florida represented too great a challenge for the scrappy Paul campaign, which has decided to focus instead on Maine and Nevada, which hold caucuses starting next weekend and offer cheaper access to convention delegates.
A winner-take-all state, Florida only rewards the winner with delegates, and Paul, a Texas Republican congressman, never stood a chance of besting his better-funded rivals. The state is expensive to campaign in, with pricey TV markets and long distances between events. And Paul's unwillingness to rattle his saber at the Cuban island off the coast of Florida doesn't play well with the exile community.
"They've had a plan for a long time to emphasize the smaller caucus states, to spend their money wisely and to accumulate delegates," Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said in an interview with The Atlantic.
"I think he needs a breakthrough. He needs a victory," Paul said, "he's got to start winning some primaries."
Paul's strategy of arriving at the convention with a significant number of delegates is, as Rand Paul noted, called into question if Paul doesn't gather some momentum.
The Nevada caucus, meanwhile, will be a challenge as well. The state's large Mormon population makes it a home game for Romney.
Nevada may seem a receptive state for Paul's libertarian philosophy, but it is notoriously selective about which freedoms it allows. Famous for legalized prostitution, most of the industry is in fact illegal in the state, with grassroots movements routinely pushing to snuff it out altogether. And the state has, on multiple occasions, beaten back ballot initiatives aimed at legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use.
Paul's 2008 campaign lasted into June 2008. He has not ruled out a third-party bid in 2012.
Check out the slideshow below for more on the Paul campaign.