Forty years ago this month, Ron Paul was in the final weeks of his first campaign for the United States House of Representatives. Paul, a Texas obstetrician who had never before run for political office, was the Republican nominee challenging Rep. Robert R. Casey, the eight-term Democrat incumbent. Casey won that race. But, a year and a half later Paul won the House seat in a special election after the seat had become vacant due to Casey’s appointment to the Federal Maritime Commission.
Paul ran for office in 1974 and through the years in large part so he could have a platform for educating people with a consistent pro-liberty message.
In all, Paul won election to the House 12 times over a span of five decades. Paul’s wins include the unmatched record of being elected three times to the House as a non-incumbent — once in his 1976 special election victory and twice (in 1978 and 1996) in victories against incumbents. Paul had some losses as well — in 1974 and a squeaker House reelection loss in the 1976 general election, as well as in his 1984 US Senate and 1988, 2008, and 2012 presidential races. Yet, Paul’s lost races were fruitful in advancing his educational mission.
Paul left the House in January of 2013 after choosing not to seek reelection. While he is no longer in political office, Paul is focused as much as ever on education. His platform now, including as chairman and founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, is greater than it was through much of his years in political office, allowing Paul to continue his work on building a powerful movement in support of liberty.
Some people disparage Paul for standing by his principles instead of jettisoning his principles in an effort to obtain political power. But, an important lesson of Paul’s forty years and counting in the political arena is that being principled and consistent can yield a very important success — waking up people in America and around the world to the pro-liberty message.
In May of 2013, I spoke at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala City, Guatemala regarding Paul’s history in the political arena from Paul’s 1976 special election victory to his founding of the Ron Paul Institute. You can watch the 27 minutes presentation and the following question and answer period here:
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