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Paul rakes in millions despite low polling among GOP

  • Story Highlights
  • Ron Paul's campaign says it brought in more than $6 million in 24 hours
  • Paul: "It looks to me like money talks, and I like to say ideas talk"
  • Paul ranks low in most national polls of the GOP presidential field
  • Texas representative's campaign has a lot of online support
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DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) -- GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul is raking in millions of dollars even as he remains one of the candidates with the least face time in mainstream media.

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Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul's campaign says it plans to beef up staff in Florida and other states.

His campaign said it raised $6 million-plus in 24 hours earlier this week -- one of the largest single-day fundraising totals in U.S. election history -- but he remains low in the polls.

Paul says those polls might be mistaken and insists he has a wide following.

Much of Paul's money comes from individuals contributing smaller amounts, according to his campaign and records dating back to September filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Paul said Monday that his source of funding distinguished himself from other Republican presidential candidates because his cash did not come from "powerful special interests." Video Watch Paul describe his fundraising prowess »

"In our case, it came from individuals who were concerned about what was happening," Paul said, "and I have offered an alternative both economically speaking, monetarily, as well as in foreign policy.

"I believe this is the reason they have come and joined the campaign."

As of last quarter, the Paul campaign received more than $8 million in contributions from individuals. About half of that came from donations of $200 or less, according to reports filed with the FEC. See where the money is coming from »

Percentage-wise, Paul's fund-raising depends on these smaller donations far more than the other Republican candidates do.

As of last quarter's filings, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani reported about $3.77 million in donations of less than $200, with individual contributions totaling $44.3 million. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee reported about $585,000 in donations of less $200, with individual contributions totaling $2.3 million. And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reported about $6 million in donations of less $200, with individual contributions totaling $43.7 million.

Campaign officials for Paul now say they have raised $18 million for their man, but the figures won't be independently confirmed until FEC reports are filed at the end of the year.

"It's nice to know that we are comfortable and can pay the bills," said Paul, a Texas congressman, at a press conference Monday, a day after the campaign said it raked in more than $6 million in an Internet-based drive in 24 hours.

The average donation during the drive was $102, according to the campaign.

Sunday's totals, raised by supporters acting independently of Paul's campaign, follow a similar November effort that the campaign said brought in $4.3 million.

"Toward the end it was difficult to keep up with all the accounting," Paul said.

Although so much money was raised on the Internet, the campaign said it knows "good old-fashioned politics" such as knocking on doors in New Hampshire is needed to get votes, according to a campaign spokesman.

And votes are crucial for Paul, who shows up in the low single digits in national polls of the GOP field.

But a CNN/WMUR poll in New Hampshire, released last week, found Paul drawing 7 percent support among Republicans in that first primary state -- and he broke double digits with 11 percent in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll in South Carolina, home of another early contest. The New Hampshire poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, and the margin of error for the South Carolina survey is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Paul has a strong Internet campaign, as evidenced by his successful online drives.

"We appeal to a lot of independent voters and disgruntled Republicans ... who might not have voted in the last go-around, so they're not being polled. We also attract a lot of young people who have not voted before," he said on CNN's "American Morning."

Paul said the money raised Sunday -- the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party -- was "a pleasant surprise for me and a shocker for some other people." Paul's supporters staged a re-enactment Sunday of the 1773 Colonial protest against British tea taxes as part of their fundraising efforts.

But he said he was disappointed that his fundraising efforts -- not his policies -- had gained so much attention.

"It looks to me like money talks, and I like to say ideas talk ... [and that it's] my position on foreign policy and the monetary system that should have gotten the attention of the media," he said.

Paul's campaign plans to beef up staff in Florida and other states voting in February 5's "Super Tuesday" contests, when more than 20 states will hold primaries or caucuses, a spokesman for the Paul camp said.

The campaign also will spend money on airtime in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

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Paul, who ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988, is the sole Republican candidate to call for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

Earlier this year, Romney's presidential exploratory committee said it had pulled in around $6.5 million in a 24-hour period, though that haul included both donations and pledges for future donations. The current record belongs to Democrat John Kerry, whose presidential campaign received $5.7 million in a single day during the 2004 race. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand, Mary Snow, Kristi Keck and Chris Welch contributed to this report.

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