So Ron Paul says he's calling off his presidential bid and focusing instead on keeping his congressional seat, which actually may be endangered:
- Ron Paul, the Lake Jackson GOP lawmaker whose Internet-driven presidential campaign has smashed fundraising records but failed to garner substantial voter support, is scaling back his White House efforts and is focusing on the primary race to retain his House seat.
In an e-mail message sent to supporters Saturday, Paul said that while he will remain in the presidential race, he must place a priority on his congressional contest, where he faces Friendswood accountant Chris Peden.
"If I were to lose the primary for my congressional seat, all our opponents would react with glee, and pretend it was a rejection of our ideas," he said. "I cannot and will not let that happen."
With Arizona Sen. John McCain on a clear path to the Republican presidential nomination, Paul said he no longer needs as big a national staff, "so," he said, "I am making it leaner and tighter."
Paul repeated earlier pledges that he will not make a third-party run for president. In 1988, he was the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, and thousands of his grassroots backers have encouraged him to continue his national fight through November.
So much for my prediction that Paul will eventually go the third-party route. Although if he loses his primary, he might yet give it a shot. Or use the leftover money to build an organization for a 2012 bid.
- ... Jared Woodfill, Harris County GOP chairman, said, "It's very surprising, if not shocking, that he's still in the presidential race. His numbers have gone absolutely nowhere."
Paul's announcement was greeted with sadness by supporters in cyberspace and at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
"His analysis is correct," said Aaron Biterman, a Paul backer from Arlington, Va. "He should be worried about his congressional seat. We don't want to lose Ron Paul in Congress."
Howie Klein notes that Paul's primary opponent, Chris Peden, is nearly an out-to-lunch wingnut as Paul, just a different kind. And he's got a decent chance of winning, evidently.
I enjoyed this shot from Peden:
- The "people who live in District 14 actually deserve an elected representative who cares more about looking out for their interests in D.C. than trying to persuade a bunch of dope-smoking, Kucinich-loving college students in Seattle that America’s problems are the result of a flawed monetary policy controlled by a wealthy and secretive elite."
Actually, I think most of the college students in Seattle went pretty overwhelmingly for Obama yesterday. Including the dope smokers.
But we get the point -- and for the people who actually put Ron Paul in Congress, as opposed to the people who pour money into his campaigns, it's probably a germane one.