Texas Congressman Ron Paul may not have won any state primaries or caucuses, but his Super PAC, Endorse Liberty, says they are standing by their man and hoping for a brokered convention.
"We are betting on the convention and 100 percent of our spending will continue to support Ron Paul," says Jeffrey Harmon, one of Endorse Liberty's cofounders. [See pictures of the 2012 GOP candidates.]
"We've been happy with a lot of results, and the vast majority of American voters still haven't had a chance to vote."
A POLITICO article published Wednesday called into question whether Endorse Liberty would continue to focus all of its attention and resources exclusively on Paul's presidential campaign. PAC treasurer Abe Niederhauser told POLITICO "Yes, we are reassessing our efforts, but we have always felt that we are a part of a larger movement rather than just a single election."
Harmon clarified in an interview with U.S. News and World Report Friday that Niederhauser didn't mean to infer that Endorse Liberty would adjust its level of support for Paul, but meant the team was reassessing how they could better help Paul earn delegates for the Republican National Convention in August. [The Road Ahead for Ron Paul]
Harmon and his team lack the pedigree of other Super PAC founders. many of whom have extensive networks inside the Beltway or once campaigned for the candidate their Super PAC supports.
None of the men operating Endorse Liberty have ever even spoken with Paul. Harmon says the closest he's gotten to his political hero is brushing Paul's hand in a receiving line at a rally in Twin Falls, Idaho.
"He wouldn't recognize me in a room. He doesn't know who I am," Harmon says. "We are just focused on what we do best and that is not following him around."
For Harmon and his team, Endorse Liberty is a labor of love. The team does not pay themselves a salary for operating the PAC and Harmon, who also owns Orabrush, a company that produces tongue cleaners, says he has even taken a pay cut in his day job to devote more time to Endorse Liberty. With limited available cash, Harmon says he drives a $500 car and lives with his wife and newborn in a basement in Provo, Utah.
Harmon started Endorse Liberty alongside Smiley Media founder Stephen Oskoui, Orabrush Marketing Director Abe Niederhauser and cofounder of Huntsman Chemical Ladd Christensen. The team launched Endorse Liberty in December 2011 as a new media alternative to Revolution PAC, another Paul Super PAC that focused their funds on traditional media.
"We wanted to be edgier, we wanted to be a more digitally focused campaign," Harmon says, "It operates more like a tech start-up. It had pluses and minuses, but as far as we were concerned this is what we were good at and this is what we could offer to the movement."
Launching the Super PAC proved challenging. The team only had one week to file the paperwork with the FEC and they worked around the clock to find donors to make a big impact in time for the Iowa Caucuses. And with the founders living from Salt Lake City to Austin, the group had to conduct business in a more Ad-hoc nature than other Super PACs, with most business being conducted over the phone or through E-mail.
They have $61,000 on hand now, but in just over two months, Endorse Liberty has become Paul's largest Super PAC, raising $3.4 million — $2.6 million of which has come from the PAC's largest donor, PayPal Founder Peter Thiel.
Harmon said he has no idea how much more money Thiel will continue to give.
"Thiel likes big ideas and he loves Ron Paul, but we haven't had that conversation."
Niederhauser says many of the biggest donations come from tech business people like Thiel, but college students and military veterans account for a significant amount of funding as well.