Texas congressman to seek support in LV for presidential campaign

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul will visit Las Vegas later this week, "respond(ing) to the groundswell of grass-roots movements supporting his bid for the 2008 Republican nomination," according to his campaign.

Paul, a congressman from Texas who previously ran for president on the Libertarian ticket, will host a $100-a-plate fundraiser luncheon for the Nevada Republican Party on Friday. The location for that event hasn't yet been scheduled, party officials said.

On Saturday, Paul will meet with a group of supporters that formed through the networking Web site Meetup.com. The group started in late May with about 15 members but has quickly grown to more than 100, a membership that exceeds the Meetup group for Las Vegas Republicans, according to Arden Osborne, a campaign volunteer.

The 2 p.m. rally is to be held in a meeting room at Paris Las Vegas. It is free and open to the public.

Paul also is scheduled to appear at Saturday's FreedomFest, a convention of libertarian thinkers. At 5 p.m., he is scheduled to debate conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza on the topic, "Should we fight the war on terror in the Middle East and around the globe?" Paul will take the "no" position.

Considered a long-shot candidate, Paul has made his mark in televised Republican debates with his vocal opposition to the Iraq war.

It will be Paul's first campaign visit to Nevada. Despite his lively grass-roots support, Paul hasn't made much of a dent among Nevada's libertarian-minded Republican voters. In a statewide poll late last month, he had 1 percent of the vote among likely Republican caucus attendees.