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Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election next year. The eight-term Republican and libertarian leader who also served previously said he will instead focus on his third presidential campaign.
“I felt it was better that I concentrate on one election,” Paul told the Facts newspaper of Clute, Texas. “It’s about that time when I should change tactics.”
Brazoria County Republican Party Chairwoman Yvonne Dewey told the Facts she was surprised by Paul’s announcement and that no one had yet filed to run in the coastal 14th district.
The current district gave both Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and President George W. Bush at least 66 percent of the vote, but it is expected to become more competitive under the new lines adopted through redistricting.
“I think it will be treated as a wide-open seat,” Dewey said. “You will have a lot of candidates on both sides.”
Paul was first elected to Congress in a 1976 special election but lost the ensuing general election. Paul won the seat back in 1978, then left it again to run for what turned out to be an unsuccessful Senate bid in 1984. His open seat was won by now-former Rep. Tom DeLay (R).
After a 1988 run for president as a libertarian, Paul returned to Congress in 1996 by defeating then-Rep. Greg Laughlin in the GOP primary. Laughlin had just switched from the Democratic Party.