(CNN) – Rep. Ron Paul will not step aside even if Mitt Romney soon clinches the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination, the candidate said Monday.
"If tomorrow, Romney had the absolute number, I would probably continue in a modified way to maximize the number of delegates to go to the convention," Paul said on CNBC's "Squawk Box," adding that his supporters insist he stay in the running.
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Paul, who's making his third bid for president, has failed to win a single contest this cycle and trails in the delegate race with 72 delegates to Romney's mammoth 685 delegates, according to CNN estimates. Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, has 138 delegates.
Even still, Paul compared dropping out of the race now to walking off the track in the third lap of a mile race.
"You don't quit because you happen to be behind. You want to see how you do," Paul said. "And who knows, maybe somebody will stumble. You can't ever tell."
Paul pointed to possible delegate gains in next couple of months, when the two largest states-Texas and California-hold their primaries.
Referring to the current political system as "flawed," Paul acknowledged that his presidential campaign is largely fueled by the wish to influence the national dialogue.
"Yes, you run to win," Paul said. "But there is certainly no doubt I don't shy away from the fact that it has a lot to do with changing the nature of the debate."
The longtime congressman from Texas has been campaigning in states that hold contests on Tuesday, especially in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, in his quest for more delegates. Despite his low standing in the polls, Paul has seen strong fundraising figures, with $10.4 million raised in the first quarter of this year.
"The market is telling me that this campaign is very, very viable," Paul said. "They want to win if they can, they want to maximize the delegates and they do want to have an impact. That is very important to every single supporter."