UPDATE: Ron Paul Stumps at Maple Grove GOP Caucus For Votes
The presidential candidate spoke at the Minnesota Senate District 32 Republican caucus at Maple Grove Junior High Feb. 7, promoting his platform of less government and telling voters here that now was their chance to take their country back.
(Update: 9 p.m. Feb. 7) - Republican presidential hopeful Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) stumped for nearly 15 minutes to a packed auditorium at the Senate District 32 Minnesota Republican Presidential Caucus at Maple Grove Junior High School tonight, urging Republican voters to consider his platform of less government, lower taxes and a stronger protection of civil liberties.
More than 1,000 Republican voters packed into the junior high school auditorium to hear Paul speak before dispersing to school classrooms to vote in their precincts for the caucus poll.
Paul was the last to speak before the caucus broke into precincts to vote. Paul followed representatives for Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.
Paul took to the stage at 7:30 p.m. to a raucous cheers. He opened with a brief reflection on his military experience and medical career before diving head-first into the obvious elephant in the room.
"People have been careless and the representatives in Congress have been careless," he said. "We have not taken the oaths of office seriously. I believe most of our problems have come because we have violated the Constitution and we could solve almost all of our problems if we'd only send people to Washington who took the oath of office seriously and obeyed the Constitution."
He stayed true to his Libertarian themes from there, talking everything from civil liberties to his desire to cut federal government spending.
"Our deficit is over $1 trillion every year. There's no serious attempt in Washington, and quite frankly, if you listen the other candidates, there's no serious attempt to cut spending," Paul said.
"I believe if we want to get our house in order and our country back on track again, we have to cut spending, so I have proposed to cut $1 trillion out of the budget in one year."
By the time Paul left, he had a standing ovation.
Maple Grove resident Bridget Erickson said before the speech that she was impressed by Paul. She said it was the first time in a long time that she'd attended the caucuses. "It's definitely grass roots here. I came to have my voice heard for Ron Paul."
State Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) reflected on the turnout that it was "Quite a momentous night. The community really comes out on presidential years. Who'd have ever thought that Ron Paul would be here?"
He thought Paul would show strong in Maple Grove because he spoke tonight. "When a candidate shows up, people will turn out," he said. "The people really seemed united."
Limmer said this is one of the best turnouts he's ever seen for a caucus.
"The first time I caucused here it was at the fire station across the street. We met in the upstairs of the fire station. All of us." He laughed and looked around the auditorium. "This was just a corn field."
Prior to Paul's appearance, Minnesota State House of Repsentatives Speaker Kurt Zellers urged all voters to stay true to their convictions, "fight like heck" for their candidates, and then come together once the votes were tallied.