Ayn Rand must be rolling over in her grave.
GOP insurgent and evangelical libertarian Ron Paul made the surprise announcement today that he is suspending all active campaigning for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Though Representative Paul’s announcement all but clears the field for Mitt Romney, Paul assured his supporters that he will continue to work to secure delegates at the upcoming Republican state conventions. How he intends to do that without active campaigning is anyone’s guess.
"Moving forward, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted," Paul said in a statement issued to supporters. "Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have."
The longtime Texas congressman has been a darling of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party and a gadfly to mainstream conservatives who see his views on drug laws and foreign policy as incompatible with the GOP platform. Despite widespread opposition from the Republican machine, Paul managed to wage a respectable campaign, drawing on the support of younger voters traditionally put-off by the stodgy, center-right party.
As of his April FEC filing, the Ron Paul presidential campaign had a measly $1.8 million cash on hand. With most rank-and-file conservatives accepting Mitt Romney’s inevitability, the Paul campaign has struggled to find new sources of donations.
Not one to go down without a fight, Paul assured supporters that even though he no longer has the money to compete in future primaries, his campaign apparatus will continue to pursue delegates through the state convention process.
“We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future," said Paul.
Paul is the only remaining candidate in the field aside from Mitt Romney. According to CNN’s latest estimate, he controls only 99 delegates to Romney’s 945. Some political observers have suggested that Paul is angling for a choice speaking spot at the GOP convention in Tampa this summer. Either that, or he hopes to command enough delegates to work some of his flagship monetary policy issues into the GOP platform. Unfortunately for Paul supporters, if he shows up in Tampa with less than a hundred pledged delegates even those modest goals will be out of reach.