John Ramsey became old enough to buy a beer nine months ago. The college student from East Texas isn't old enough to serve in Congress. His intellectual role model, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson, has been in Congress 22 years -- longer than Ramsey has been alive.
Yet Ramsey is leaving a mark on U.S. politics that may outlast his political mentor and presidential candidate.
The college senior spent $1.3 million of his own money to create the Liberty for All Super PAC, which backs candidates who endorse what Ramsey calls "freedom philosophy." The dogma includes policies championed by Paul, such as supporting free-market economics, protecting civil liberties, slashing government spending and opposing most U.S. military action.
Ramsey's super PAC passed its first test Tuesday. It spent more than $561,000 on television and radio ads to help Tom Massie, a Kentucky engineer, defeat two experienced politicians in a House Republican primary.
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Ramsey's super PAC spent more than any of the candidates.
"This is the first step. We're looking to spread our message," Ramsey told about 20 people in their teens and 20s who gathered for a victory party at one of the PAC's headquarters in Bellevue, Ky.
Ramsey attends Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, where he's several courses shy of a double-major in business economics and finance.
His interest in economics and finance comes from his grandfather Justin Robert Howard, a banker who died on Thanksgiving 2010 and left a fortune to his survivors, including Ramsey and his two older siblings.
After campaigning for Paul in Iowa and Maine, Ramsey said, he became "tired of sitting on the sidelines" and decided to form the super PAC, becoming perhaps the youngest of the political actors freed by federal court decisions to spend as much as they wish on elections. According to Federal Election Commission records, the Liberty for All Super PAC became official March 5.