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Paul won't seek re-election to Congress

By Sonny Long
July 12, 2011 at 2:12 a.m.
Updated July 19, 2011 at 2:19 a.m.

Republican presidential hopeful, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans on June 17. Paul says he will retire from Congress when his term runs out in 2012 and will focus on his campaign for president.

PAUL'S PATHRon Paul was first elected to the U.S. House in 1976 and served four terms before stepping down in 1984. After Republicans took over Congress in 1994, Paul ran again and won in 1996 and has been re-elected every election since.

In 2010, Paul beat three Republican challengers in the primary and won re-election against Democrat Robert Pruett in the general election.

ISSUESThe issues Ron Paul feels passionately about, including U.S. foreign and economic policy: He said he will continue to fight for those either as president or from outside government.

"I believe I can continue to do what I have been doing outside of Congress," Paul said. "I was ready for a change."

RedistrictingPaul said that he was disappointed in how his district was redrawn by the Texas Legislature following the 2010 census. His new district is less heavily Republican.

"The district was weakened, there were a lot of new people, and it didn't overly excite me, but it isn't the reason" for not running again, Paul said.

Less governmentPaul's mix of libertarian and Republican politics has prompted many to call him the "intellectual godfather" of the tea party movement. He opposes U.S. military involvement overseas, wants to remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and believes the United States should return to the gold standard.

He has introduced legislation to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve, which he said is designed to "deceive and defraud the American people."

Personal responsibility and more power to the states are Paul's hallmarks. He opposes federal flood insurance, farm subsidies and the Department of Education, earning him the nickname "Dr. No."

Paul has routinely turned down pork-barrel spending for his own district, but has earned praise at home for refusing to sign up for lucrative pension benefits to which he is entitled as a member of Congress. He is the author of six books on politics and monetary policy.

Source: The Associated Press

Tuesday's announcement that U.S. Rep. Ron Paul will not seek re-election to Congress after almost 24 years in office was bittersweet for Toni Marek.

"He's served so well for so long, but I agree that it's smart to focus on one election," said the Paul supporter and local activist. "And with redistricting going on, it makes sense."

Paul, in an interview with The Facts in his home base of Lake Jackson, said he would not seek another Congressional term to focus on his 2012 presidential bid.

"I felt it was better that I concentrate on one election. It's about that time when I should change tactics," Paul said.

Paul, 75, has served 12 terms in Congress representing District 14 that includes Victoria County as well as Calhoun, Jackson, Matagorda and Wharton counties.

He won a straw poll at the Republican Leadership Conference held in New Orleans last month.

"I think that you have more credibility if you run for only one office at a time," Paul told the Associated Press. He acknowledged that he may miss some House votes because of the presidential campaign, but that his staff would continue to provide constituent services.

Paul's Democratic opponent in the 2010 Congressional race, Galena Park Police Chief Robert Pruett said Paul's announcement had little effect on him considering another run.

"It's early," Pruett said. "I'd have to talk it over with my mayor and city council. I retired once and they wanted me back. And with redistricting, the makeup of the districts are probably going to change."

Local Republicans also reacted to the announcement.

"Congressman Paul has represented District 14 for more than 20 years and has a long history of being up front about his beliefs and not wavering under political pressure," said Amy Munday, vice president of Victoria County Republican Women. "The congressman and his staff have also had an open door policy with the communities that they serve, and they will be greatly missed. With redistricting taking place, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out."

Fellow Texas Democrat Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, who serves neighboring District 15, also reacted to Paul's announcement.

"Congressman Ron Paul has been a dedicated member of Congress for a little over two decades," said Hinojosa. "I have spent 15 of those years voting in the same arena as Ron, and while we disagreed on many issues, one thing I can say is that Ron has always been very consistent in his representation of what he believes in.

"Though Ron's and my voting records have always differed, I commend him on the many years he has spent as an outstanding public servant for his constituents and for our country," Hinojosa said.

Paul unsuccessfully ran for president as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988 and in 2008 sought the Republican nomination.

His Internet fundraising efforts in 2008 set records and gained national notoriety.

Paul feels he is better positioned for a 2012 run at the White House.

"We have a lot more support right now," he told The Facts. "Things are doing well for us."

Corrected June 14, 2010

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