Ron Paul's Friday announcement that his presidential campaign will soon wind down removes from the race a quixotic figure whose doomed pursuit of the White House inspired libertarians and free-market purists, including many business owners who loved his message about a nation free from regulatory fetters.
"Imagine what it would be like if we had no income tax in the country?" says Donald Huffines, co-founder of Dallas residential development company Huffines Communities and a Ron Paul donor and fundraiser. "I don't think anyone would do more for business - small or large - than Ron Paul. He would eliminate the role of government in our business lives, and the GDP growth of the country would skyrocket as a result."
Paul's groundswell played out in the grassroots. His average donation size was just $102, according to his campaign, but he led the GOP field in fundraising in 2007's last quarter, bringing in $20 million. Paul plans to continue fundraising for a succeeding organization to his campaign, one that will continue pushing "the message of human liberty," he said in a video message posted Friday on his website.