(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."
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The next president of the United States of America!!!
Ron Paul has a chance of winning, if the whole contest isn't fixed to begin with.
AJS do you really think it is fixed? Who do you think fixes the election? Can you give specifics or are you afraid?
The establishment will never allow a fair fight they will cheat steal and spin whichever way they want to affect the outcome they want. That is why Ron Paul should run third party. There is little difference between Romney and Obama anyway. The outcomes will be slightly differerent but either way way we wil continue to decline. Ron Paul can fetus started on the right path for fiscal and foreign policy sanity and gives us a chance at a prosperous future. Ron Paul or no one. Please Ron run third party we the people have your back.
Braveheart, Rocky, Rudy, 300, Seabiscuit, Star Wars, To Kill a mocking bird, and countless other underdogs stories are American favorites. Yet when it comes to something that really matter most of us cower and only want the sure thing. It makes me sick that people keep asking Ron Paul to quit. We truly are snooky stupid and deserve what we get. Voting for a sure thing is not always the right thing. Usually the right path is a very difficult one. Choose what's right not what's easy. I refuse to get put in a box... I will vote for Paul even if I have to write him in.
I fear what America will be if we don't take advantage of this rare opportunity to elect Dr. Paul as president.
I'm casting my vote for you tomorrow here in NY!
An American hero!