In fact, given the apparent desperation among Republican voters for someone else to enter the race, it might be reasonable to describe the entire field as "also rans".
As the CarpetBaggerReport put it:
Just below the surface, there’s a subtle GOP yearning for a trusted conservative who can raise a lot of money, appeal to a cross-section of the party’s factions, and be a credible general-election candidate. Allen and Santorum could have been the candidate, but they lost their re-election bids. Jeb would have been the go-to guy all along, except he said he wouldn’t run.This month's favorite is Fred Thompson, who comes in just behind Rudy Giuliani in recent polls, despite the fact that few people could name his stance on any issue, or recall an event of any significance during his short Senate career (and probably couldn't even tell you which state he represented). Previous candidates for savior of the party include Michael Bloomberg, Newt Gingrich, Jeb Bush, and, absurdly, Dick Cheney (perhaps the only person in the country with lower approval ratings than the current president).
Ron Paul is written off as a fringe candidate with no real chance of winning the nomination. He is of little interest to the MSM who obsess about the horserace rather than the debate over where to lead the country.
But if the latest generic polls are any indication, the Republicans are headed for a resounding defeat in 2008. The party has sacrificed virtually all it's core principles in service to George Bush. Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate trying to define the purpose of the party itself.
As one of his supporters in the WP article says:
"I'm not supporting him because I think he could get the nomination. I'm supporting him because I think he can influence the national conversation about what the role of government is, how much power should government have over our lives, how much liberty should we give up for security. These are important issues, and frankly, no one's thinking about them as seriously and sincerely as Ron Paul."