Ron Paul's Star on the Rise Libertarian could be kingmaker if he wins Iowa By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Dec 21, 2011 2:55 AM CST 45 comments Comments Ron addresses the Congressional Health Care Caucus 'Thought Leaders Series' in Washington DC last month. (Getty Images) (Newser) – Not many Republicans believe Ron Paul will win their party's nomination, but as he tops polls in Iowa, his power has become impossible for the GOP to ignore, the Washington Post finds. The libertarian congressman has a solid organization, and a big, committed—and largely young—base of followers that could make him a kingmaker or, if he decides to run as a third-party candidate, hand President Obama a potentially decisive advantage. Ron Paul held his own alternative convention after being denied a spot at the Republican National Convention in 2008, and strategists say the party's failure to embrace Paul and his followers was a major tactical error. "The reality is Ron Paul is poised to become a major figure in the Republican Party if his momentum continues and he’s able to win in Iowa,” says Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, John McCain's campaign manager in 2008. “The open question is: How much durability does he have over the balance of the race?"