America's most famous libertarian
Ron Paul is stepping down from the Texas coastal congressional seat he has held for the last 15 years.
Paul, a conservative known nationwide for his strict Libertarian beliefs and votes, will not seek re-election in the Texas 14th Congressional District, which includes Galveston, League City, Friendswood and Alvin and stretches down the Gulf Coast to Victoria.
Paul says he is focusing his energy on the 2012 presidential election and wanted to give contenders for his House seat notice to decide if they want to run.
“I felt it was better that I concentrate on one election,” Paul told The Facts, a Brazoria County paper. “It’s about that time when I should change tactics.”
Paul has served a total of 24 years in the House (1976-1984, 1996-present) and earned the nickname "Dr. No" for his votes on every appropriations bill and every bill which he does not find to be constitutional, finding him often at odds against his party in areas like energy and education. He often represented the lone "no" vote in Congress. If you saw "451 - Aye, 1 - No", you could bet it was Paul. His beliefs have earned him and his political campaigns record funding from Internet donors and enormous popularity in his district, despite his unorthodox stands and a history of racist statements.
His retirement does come as a surprise, since Paul was awarded the chairmanship of the House Financial Services subcommittee on monetary policy with the Republican takeover of the House in 2010. The appointment gives him a measure of control over the Federal Reserve, which has been Paul's bête noir for years, and he's published a book arguing for its elimination.