Ron Paul announced his retirement from the U.S. House in a message posted on Facebook.
“I have decided not to seek re-election for my House seat in 2012 and will focus all of my energy winning the presidency.”
Paul, an obstetrician-gynecologist before he went into politics, has been known as “Dr. No” in the House for his propensity to oppose government spending, from foreign aid to funding for Congressional Gold Medals for Mother Teresa and Rosa Parks.
Paul was first elected to Congress in 1976 from a South Texas seat that had never been represented by a Republican. He made an unsuccessful bid to unseat then-Sen. Phil Gramm in 1984 and went back to his medical practice for a while.
He ran for Congress again in 1996, challenging incumbent Greg Laughlin in the GOP primary after Laughlin bolted the Democratic Party to become a Republican. Paul has been easily re-elected to the House ever since.