Paul raises $1.2 million in Valentine's Day money bomb, in pace with Santorum

Ron Paul might be fading in national polls of the Republican presidential race, but a Valentine's Day "money bomb" fundraiser demonstrated that the Texas congressman still outpaces his rivals when it comes to raising money — and that he should be able to remain in the nomination hunt as long as he wants.

Paul's campaign announced Wednesday that it had raised nearly $1.2 million since Valentine's Day, bringing in cash at nearly the same rate as rival Rick Santorum in the immediate aftermath of the former senator's victories in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado last week that propelled his campaign back into the national spotlight.

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"Every day, more and more Americans are realizing how deeply our out-of-control government has devastated our nation, and they’re angry. They’re looking for answers, and my staff is ready to ramp up our efforts even more to reach them with our solutions — through more hard-hitting ads, direct mail and email, more boots on the ground, and more personal phone calls," Paul wrote in an email to supporters.

The frenzied short-term fundraisers, which lean on Paul's extensive grassroots network, have injected life into his campaign throughout the cycle. But the Texas congressman is still searching for his first victory after a narrow — and disputed — loss in the Maine caucus.

That's left Paul trailing the remainder of the field in the crucial delegate count. According to the Wall Street Journal's delegate projection, Paul's 19 delegates trails Newt Gingrich's 32, Santorum's 72 and Mitt Romney's 123.

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Polls also show Paul struggling to gain momentum in the race. The Gallup tracking poll released Wednesday found Paul to be the choice of 8 percent of Republican voters nationally, trailing Romney's 33 percent, Santorum's 31 percent and Gingrich's 15 percent.

Still, Paul's campaign remains confident that its fundraising prowess and organization will enable him to stay relevant — and keep campaigning — as the primary progresses.

In the ask, Paul says that the campaign needs donations to "keep spreading the word about liberty, reaching millions more voters, and securing the delegate spots key to winning the Republican nomination."

The congressman has campaign events in Idaho and Washington state scheduled for Thursday.