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Ron Paul weathers a personal loss, his troops gather Saturday in D.C.

July 11, 2008 |  2:56 pm

The Ron Paul revolution marches on this weekend, literally, but the latest manifestation of the movement no doubt will be tinged with sadness for the erstwhile presidential candidate due to the death of one of his top aides.

Kent Snyder, 49, who worked for Paul's 1988 White House campaign (when he ran as a Libertarian) and chaired his surprisingly fiesty bid for the 2008 Republican nomination, died in late June of viral pneumonia in a Virginia hospital.

Ten term Congressman GOP Congressman Ron Paul makes a point in preparation for his alternate convention in Minnesota in September

An obituary in today's Washington Post noted that without Snyder, the Paul phenomenon might never have occurred -- the Kansas native and martial arts enthusiast helped presuade the Texas congressman to enter the fray last year.

At a website soliciting donations to pay for Snyder's extensive medical bills (he was not insured), Paul says in a prominently displayed statement:

Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for Freedom. He will always hold a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family. ... Without Kent Snyder, the fight for liberty would not be where it is today. We all owe him a great debt.

Paul is scheduled to speak at a rally of his adherents that follows a Saturday morning march in downtown Washington. As spelled out on the website, the aim of the event is to express support for "restoring constitutional government as the founding fathers set forth."

For some in attendance, the gathering will be a prelude to the much-publicized get-together Paul plans at the University of Minnesota on Sept. 2 -- not too far away from where the GOP will be convening the second day of its national convention.

That rally -- and other efforts by Paul and his crew during the convention week -- will be tracked by the media for clues about the potential long-range influence of his backers within his party. But evidence of such clout already has surfaced in some states -- perhaps most vividly in Idaho.

When the state GOP met last month, its head did his best to hang onto his job. As reported by the Idaho Statesman, Kirk Sullivan handed out Rice Krispies treats as part of his wooing of party activists. But he got bounced anyway. Replacing him was Norm Semanko who, the paper wrote, "was pushed to victory largely by an eclectic group consisting of supporters of [Paul] and social conservatives who want to shift the party to the right."

Paul and his forces also grabbed attention recently when they teamed with liberal groups to raise money to express their opposition to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that cleared Congress this week.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Nick Wass / AP