Ron Paul Suspending Presidential Campaign

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports: Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, will become the final Republican candidate for president who is not John McCain to drop out of the presidential race tonight, ABC News has learned.

It was a spirited run for Paul, whose followers called their support for him a "revolution" of non-interventionism and small government.

In a Web video to be posted on Paul's Web site he will tell supporters he is winding down his campaign, which had already taken a back seat in recent weeks to his simultaneous bid for reelection to his congressional seat.

Despite a concerned-seeming fundraising blitz toward the end of the Republican primary in Texas, Paul won the party primary for the 14th Texas congressional district by more than 2 to 1. He did not fare so well in the Republican primary in Texas, getting less than 5 percent of the vote and no delegates.

Paul has amassed only 14 delegates that he can take to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in September -- miles short of what was needed to be seen as a contender for the nomination.

Paul ran well outside his party on issues as crucial as the war in Iraq and civil liberties. His contention that his views were closer to the roots of the Republican Party got some people thinking, but ultimately did not get enough votes.

Paul can rightly claim his presidential bid, which enjoyed a visible -- if apparently non-voting -- following, and enjoyed several quarters of impressive fundraising, was successful at giving Republicans some pause.

Echoes of his pledge to shut down the IRS could be heard in the campaign of Mike Huckabee, who ran closer to the Republican mainstream on other issues. And as the U.S. economy dips, some see new light in Paul's criticism of the Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve for the role they play in inflation.

Ultimately, however, Paul wanted to campaign as a Republican and be, as one aide put it recently, "not entirely quixotic."

Paul has shied away from calls by supporters to run a third party campaign for the presidency. He mounted such a campaign in 1988 when he left the Republican Party to run for president as a Libertarian. But this time, Paul has said that the U.S. political system is too tough a nut to crack for third parties. It takes too much money and organization, he has said, to get on the ballot.

Plus, as he wrote to supporters after trouncing his congressional primary opponent, his job in the Congress is a pretty good one and allows him a soap box from which to preach his small government, libertarian gospel.

"The message of freedom is popular," he wrote on Tuesday night. "And I will continue to trumpet it in Congress and across America as I fight on behalf of the conservative, common-sense values which made our country so great. In conclusion, I would like to offer my thanks and gratitude to all of the wonderful people who supported me in this campaign. I look forward to representing all of the good people of the 14th District of Texas in Congress in the years to come."

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