Rand Paul campaign: We're not quitting

Story highlights

  • The press has created a 'false narrative,' the Paul camp says
  • A new memo from the campaign touts organizational strength

(CNN)Rand Paul's campaign is struggling to emerge from the low single digits in national and early state polls, but it is pushing back on the idea the Kentucky senator is close to dropping out of the presidential race.

In a new effort to make the case the libertarian firebrand has staying power for the long haul, the campaign is sending out a memo to donors and supporters Thursday to push back against what it calls the media's "false narrative" about a campaign "on the ropes."
The memo, from chief strategist Doug Stafford and campaign manager Chip Englander, touts three wins by Paul in straw poll contests in recent months, including one in New Hampshire over the weekend.
    "The media is fixated on insisting that (Paul) should get out of the race even though he continues to win every time votes are counted and the polls show him on the rise," Stafford and Englander write.
    The team also argues the campaign has the best organization of any rivals, a key to winning in early states like Iowa.
    "As demonstrated in both parties' campaigns for president, to win in Iowa, a strong ground force, not money, is the true game changer," the memo says. "In 2012, Rick Santorum was vastly outspent by Mitt Romney, yet he won Iowa. In 2008, Mike Huckabee was vastly outspent and won Iowa. In 2004, Democrat Howard Dean had all the money and resources, but John Kerry's in-state volunteer force propelled him to the top. That's how Iowa campaigns are won -- through the hard work of motivated, well-organized, and passionate grassroots supporters."
    This latest push comes as Paul -- garnering 4% support in a September CNN/ORC poll -- raised just $2.5 million in the third quarter, a paltry sum compared to Ben Carson, who raised some $20 million, as well as Ted Cruz ($12 million), Carly Fiorina ($6.8 million) and Marco Rubio ($6 million.)
    Asked about his fundraising by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday, Paul said his campaign has raised about $20 million between the official campaign and a supportive super PAC, has $2 million cash-on-hand and has had more than 150,000 donors.
    "I do think though that raising $20 million is not an insignificant amount of money," Paul said. "This is a significant movement ... even if we raise not a penny more, we have enough."
    Paul also said his campaign gets a "bit prickly and annoyed" with the constant questions about his funding and whether he's staying in the race.
    He re-itereated again he's in it for the long haul.
    "If I'm not in the race, (my) voice doesn't get heard, but a lot of Americans are with me," Paul said. "We're in it for the long haul. ... I wouldn't waste two years of my life trying to put this message out if I didn't plan to be there when they voted."
    The senator has gotten creative when it comes to drumming up attention. He already appears frequently in cable television interviews, is active on social media, and this week he livestreamed an entire day on the campaign trail.
    The campaign also feels it has an edge with young voters and the senator last week visited 11 colleges in Iowa during a three-day swing aimed at drumming up support that he believes could help him win the caucuses there. The campaign boasts more than 300 chapters for Paul supporters on college campuses nationwide.
    "While the media fixates on ad buys and fundraising, we are the only campaign organizing on campuses," the memo reads. "You will not see this student advantage show up in polls, but you will see it show up in elections -- just like the straw polls we keep winning."
    The next hurdle for Paul may be making it onto the main stage for the next debate and it is not yet clear whether the senator will meet the criteria spelled out by CNBC for that matchup. To participate in the main debate on October 28th at 8pm candidate must have an average of 3% among several national polls, which will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher. Candidates who average below that will be invited to the earlier 6 p.m. debate, the network says.