The only trail where you might catch Ron Paul this weekend is the biking one here.
While the other Republican presidential candidates were campaigning in South Carolina, the Texas congressman whose recent momentum is arguably second only to front-runner Mitt Romney’s is home taking a break, just as his often belittled candidacy has never been taken more seriously.
Paul’s supporters say they don’t begrudge the 76-year-old for stepping out of the spotlight after he really seized it.
“It’s totally OK,” said Cindy Lake, 48, a volunteer passing out voter registration forms ahead of Nevada’s primary next month. “We want him to take a break. He needs to take a break as much as any human being needs to take a break.”
But Paul’s retreat to Lake Jackson, where the former obstetrician is still likely to be spotted cycling down Oyster Creek Drive, may feed skepticism about whether he is really playing to win the nomination or just getting exposure for libertarian ideas. Some of his comments and his unorthodox campaign style have raised that question.
Paul, who was regarded as a gadfly when ran for president as Republican in 2008 and as a Libertarian in 1988, has finished in the top three in Iowa and New Hampshire this month.