Ron Paul has some thinking to do.
Until now, his strategy for keeping a libertarian-oriented presidential campaign in contention within the Republican Party has been to focus on caucus states. That's where organization can have a huge payoff and where a committed corps of loyalists can offset the opposition's money and television ads by dominating the neighborhood meetings where the nominating caucuses are held.
The next test of Paul's strategy will come Saturday when the results of the week-long caucuses in Maine will be announced. Paul supporters are optimistic he can actually win, which would be an important benchmark and morale-builder for them. But former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is also a strong contender in Maine.
Paul has had mixed results so far in the caucus states. He hasn't scored a single victory anywhere and, despite a solid second-place finish at the Minnesota caucuses this past weekend, he was far behind in both the Colorado caucuses and the non-binding Missouri primary.
Now some Republican strategists are wondering if Paul should alter his thinking and compete in one or more major primary states where he could score a breakthrough. Such states might include Arizona or Michigan on Feb. 28, or Ohio or Georgia on Super Tuesday, March 6.
Paul has been so far unwilling to invest much money in the big states where the cost of competition, especially television advertising, is vastly expensive. He may have to reconsider, GOP strategists say.