By Ashley Killough, CNN
Ron Paul on Monday argued that people should not dismiss his candidacy simply because he lags far behind in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination.
“Our people are in the right places. They’re doing the things to become delegates,” Paul said on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” adding that it was too soon in the process to “write anybody off.”
While the Texas congressman has yet to win a contest in the GOP primary, he has so far picked up 71 delegates, according to CNN’s latest estimate. The number puts Paul in a distant fourth place in the delegate count, as front-runner Mitt Romney has 569, Rick Santorum comes in second with 262 and Newt Gingrich has 136 delegates.
Paul has also struggled to break ahead in recent polls, with the latest Gallup daily tracking poll showing him holding relatively steady in last place at 9% among registered Republicans nationwide.
While his unwavering group of strident followers has helped keep his campaign afloat, he reported raising slightly more than one-third of the funds Romney drew in the month of February.
With no one close to collecting the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination, however, Paul said there is still plenty of time for him to make headway in the race.
“What if Romney isn’t the best person?” Paul asked, adding that members of the media were too quick to speculate as to why Paul has not withdrawn. “Why should we just throw in the towel because people like you say, ‘Hey, throw in the towel.’”
Making his case, Paul pointed to states that have yet to hold contests, as well as certain states that have not finalized their delegate counts, and suggested those states may soon plump up his delegate total.
Despite increasing calls by leading Republicans for the party to unite around one candidate, Paul maintained the competition is alive and well.
“There’s a race going on,” Paul said.