Let the Virginia ballot disqualification experience of Gingrich, Bachmann, Huntsman, Santorum, and Perry be an eye-opening object lesson to those dedicated supporters of Ron Paul who urge an independent or third party bid. The American electoral system is organized into fifty-two different sets of election laws (the federal laws and those of the 50 states and Guam). Each jurisdiction has entirely different ballot petition requirements for the Democrats and Republicans, as well as third party and independent presidential candidates.
These requirements are onerous, unduly burdensome, and chilling in their effect of squashing voters choosing candidates other than the Democrats and Republicans who draft and vigorously enforce these laws to protect their duopoly. I have been a litigant to several legal challenges to these restrictive laws in Oklahoma at the state and federal level, some cases reaching the United States Supreme Court.
The vast majority of campaign funds raised in such efforts must be expended not in advertisements or campaign promotion of ideas, but on petition campaigns and ballot litigation suits. The administrative overhead and manpower requirements of enlisting squads of reputable professional petitioners ("Road Warriors") in all fifty states and in every major (and minor) metropolitan area are beyond the organizational imaginations of most Paul supporters who see only the good doctor and his noble ideas. No successful ballot petition campaign relies entirely on volunteers, which is counter-intuitive to virtually all efforts of the Ron Paul Revolution.
Also remember that write-in ballots are illegal and voided in many states.
Finally, such challengers are frozen out of the televised presidential debates and interviews on the mainstream network news and talk shows and relegated to the shadows.
Ron Paul is number one in Iowa and New Hampshire. He will be the GOP nominee and will beat Barack Obama in November 2012.