WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Ron Paul said on Tuesday he will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives in order to focus on his uphill presidential bid.
Paul, 75, who has served more than 20 years in the House, told his hometown Texas newspaper "The Facts" that he would step down from Congress to devote all his attention to winning the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
"I felt it was better that I concentrate on one election," Paul said. "It's about that time when I should change tactics."
Paul is making his third bid for the White House. He ran as the Libertarian candidate in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008, when he failed to win the nomination despite a devoted following attracted by his support for limited government, reduced federal spending and a noninterventionist foreign policy.
He is an underdog again in a 2012 Republican presidential race led by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Other contenders include Paul's fellow House member Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.
Paul was first elected to Congress in a 1976 special election, but lost the ensuing general election. He won the seat back two years later but left for an unsuccessful Senate bid in 1984 before returning to Congress in 1996.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)