HOUSTON — Presidential hopeful Ron Paul said he will not run as a third-party candidate in a new message to supporters that seems to recognize his slim chances at getting the Republican nomination.
The Texas congressman wrote on his Web site Friday that he is making cuts to his national campaign staff and that he must also stay focused on not losing the primary for his House seat.
Paul began Saturday with just 14 delegates for the Republican nomination that John McCain, with 719 delegates, has all but officially secured. Mitt Romney dropped out of the race Thursday, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has 198 delegates. A total of 1,191 delegates are needed to secure the GOP nomination.
"With Romney gone, the chances of a brokered convention are nearly zero," Paul wrote. "But that does not affect my determination to fight on, in every caucus and primary remaining, and at the convention for our ideas, with just as many delegates as I can get."
Paul wrote that while he does not denigrate third parties he is committed to staying a Republican. His campaign supports low taxes and reduced government spending.
Paul's latest entry on his Web site also included a request that supporters not neglect his other "priority," which is making sure that the 10-term congressman remains in office.
"If I were to lose the primary for my congressional seat, all our opponents would react with glee, and pretend it was a rejection of our ideas," Paul wrote. "I cannot and will not let that happen."
Texas holds both presidential and congressional primaries on March 4. Paul is opposed in the Republican congressional primary by Chris Peden, a Friendswood, Texas, city councilman.
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