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Paul says he'll cease campaigning in coming primaries

NBC's Mark Murray joins NewsNation to explain how Ron Paul's decision affects the 2012 campaign.

 

Texas Rep. Ron Paul said Monday that he'll cease campaigning in upcoming caucuses and primaries, an announcement of symbolic, if not substantive, significance.

Paul, the libertarian-minded congressman who'd sought to convert his grassroots support and fundraising prowess into electoral success, sent a letter to supporters announcing he'd stop spending money on forthcoming nominating contests.

"Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted. Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have," he said in a statement.

The announcement changes little, though, for the Paul campaign. While the candidate had continued to hold rallies in Texas and California -- at which, his campaign boasted, thousands of attendees would appear -- those events were sporadic at best. Moreover, Paul had hardly been a regular presence on the campaign trail since the earliest contents, and he had largely eschewed primaries in favor of caucuses, where his enthusiastic supporters threatened to influence the outcomes.

But Paul never won any of those caucuses, and his campaign turned its attention in recent weeks to the obscure process of delegate allocation on the state level. The Texas congressman said Monday that his team would continue in its bid to accrue delegates.

"Our campaign will continue to work in 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," he said.

Paul's endgame in pursuing delegates (affecting the platform, maybe, or even winning a spot for him or his son on the Republican ticket) is far from clear. Paul announced last year that he would not seek re-election, spurring speculation that his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who was elected in 2010, might inherit the Paul political organization.