Rep. Ron Paul spent Thursday at his day job in Congress, but the energetic 76-year-old presidential hopeful is back on the campaign trail this weekend, including a stop to open a campaign office in Rep. Michele Bachmann's backyard and an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
"We're continuing to campaign hard and steady," says Jesse Benton, Paul's national campaign chairman. "We continue to lock in votes, we continue to strengthen our organization, and hopefully we'll make some news on Fox."
Paul heads first to Iowa tonight for the state's Republican Party fundraising "Reagan Dinner" in Des Moines, where he'll appear with fellow GOP candidates Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Sen. Rick Santorum.
Saturday morning, Paul will speak at the opening of his Minnesota state operation based in St. Cloud, which is part of Bachmann's congressional district. The last time Paul visited Minnesota, according to Benton, was for a 2009 town hall meeting the two co-hosted. At the time, Bachmann highlighted their similarities on fiscal reform, noting that she was learning from Paul's views on the matter, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
Though the two are now competitors, Benton says planting in Minnesota's Sixth District had nothing to do with Bachmann.
"It's just a central location, and convenient for a lot of people," he says, adding that Minnesota has an early caucus, on February 7, making the state a strategic campaign stop. In his 2008 nomination run, Paul got nearly 16 percent of Minnesota's Republican vote, but came in fourth after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Benton is hopeful for more this year.
"We've got a lot of support there," he says. "We think that we can organize and we can win that caucus and take a lot of delegates out of it."