After 24 years of public life, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) said Tuesday he will resign his post in the U.S. House of Representatives to fully devote himself to a presidential run.
"Big news!" a post to Paul's official Facebook page declared. "I have decided not to seek re-election for my House seat in 2012 and will focus all of my energy winning the Presidency. My hometown newspaper The Facts will be running the exclusive story very shortly."
Paul, who also sought the presidency in 2008 but did not resign his House seat, told The Facts that he wanted to give others a chance to consider running for his seat, rather than waiting until the 2012 Republican primaries were fully underway.
During his last presidential campaign, Paul set Internet fundraising records and constantly surprised his critics with strong online and in-person support and a consistently energized base of supporters. He believes the same can be accomplished in 2012, and that his chances of winning the Republican nomination are better than ever.
A recent Iowa poll of likely Republican voters found Paul had captured about 6 percent, just above Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and well below frontrunners Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Mitt Romney.
A similar poll of Texas Republicans found Paul with more support than Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), by a margin of 22 percent to 17 percent, with Romney, Rep. Bachmann, Gingrich and the rest trailing significantly.