Monday, March 26, 2012 | 3:52 p.m.
WASHINGTON - Hope means Nevada to Ron Paul — or at least to his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is citing Nevada as one of the top reasons why his dad should still stay in the presidential race.
When asked by a Bloomberg reporter Monday about the growing inevitability of Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee, the younger Paul urged her to put off drawing such conclusions until June because before then, the Ron Paul campaign “may well win Nevada; they may well win Iowa.”
Iowa's delegates are still up for grabs, because the Hawkeye State's caucuses are non-binding, meaning the delegates that are selected to go to Tampa in August are not obligated to vote proportionally to how the public voted on the first ballot. Nevada's delegates are bound for the opening vote, but not for any vote thereafter: incentive for Paul supporters to fill as many of the 28 Nevada delegate positions as they can to turn any subsequent ballots -- if there are any -- toward Paul.
Paul has never won Nevada at the state's caucus sites, but his team did manage to stage a coup for delegates in 2008 after flooding the state party convention, which was shut down in response. In 2008, Nevada's caucuses were non-binding.
At this February’s Nevada caucuses, Paul came in with 18.8 percent of the count, worth 5 delegates. Romney drew 50.1 percent, worth 14 delegates. Paul did increase his raw vote count over his showing in the Silver State in 2008, while Romney’s raw vote count fell.