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Texas Congressman — and twice-failed Presidential candidate — Ron Paul is effectively ending his political career by choosing to give up his seat in Congress to concentrate on a third try for a Presidency he can’t win.
The 75-year-old Paul — a hard-line libertarian with a small but rabid following — announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election to another term in the House and will focus on his run for the GOP nomination for President.
But Paul — despite a penchant for raising millions that he later converts to other uses — is at best a long shot, a fringe candidate who has never been ever to win an election beyond his Texas district. He fell way short as a libertarian candidate in 1988 — pulling in just one half of one percent of the vote and finished way out of the running in the 2008 GOP primary.
After both previous election efforts, Paul converted his leftover campaign cash to his other fringe causes, leading some to question whether his Presidential runs were little more than fake efforts to raise funds for other causes.
Paul’s 2012 campaign raised $4.5 million by the end of June — putting him in second place in the crowded GOP field but far behind the $18 million pulled in by GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney.
Paul’s 2008 campaign pulled in similar amounts of campaign cash early but faded in the stretch. While Paul has shown an ability to win “straw polls” where his legions can stuff ballot boxes, other polls show he lacks enough appeal with voters to become a serious contender.
Yet he remains a favorite of tea party extremists and is sometimes wrongly credited for “creating” the so-called “grassroots” political movement that is actually a carefully-crafted creation of Republican consultants funded by the billionaire Koch brothers.