Ron Paul, Mitt Romney’s lone remaining rival for the Republican presidential nomination, announced Monday that he would stop spending money on the party's 11 remaining primaries, in effect suspending his campaign.
The libertarian Texas congressman told supporters in an email that he would continue to accumulate delegates to the Republican National Convention, to be held in Tampa, Fla., in August.
"Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted," he wrote. "Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have."
Apart from President Obama and Romney, Paul has raised more money than any other White House contender this year -- more than $36 million. His calls for strict adherence to the Constitution and his no-nonsense manner have spawned a vocal and well organized group of followers, but not enough to give him a realistic shot at the presidency.
Having won 104 out of the 1,144 delegates needed to capture the Republican nomination, Paul is in fourth place and has no chance of overtaking Romney, who has 966, according to the latest Associated Press tally. Rick Santorum is in second with 264, followed by Newt Gingrich, who has 130.
Paul's success at winning delegates at state party conventions could push him ahead of Gingrich by the time the national convention takes place. The more delegates Paul wins, the more influence he can wield at the national gathering.
"Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process," Paul said in his email.
The general-election contest effectively began after Romney beat Santorum in the Wisconsin primary on April 3. Santorum and Gingrich have dropped out of the race.
"This campaign fought hard and won electoral success that the talking heads and pundits never thought possible," Paul told supporters in the email. "But, this campaign is also about more than just the 2012 election. It has been part of a quest I began 40 years ago and that so many have joined. It is about the campaign for Liberty, which has taken a tremendous leap forward in this election and will continue to grow stronger in the future until we finally win."
Romney is likely to win enough delegates to formally capture the nomination later this month. Primaries are to take place on Tuesday in Nebraska and Oregon, a week later in Arkansas and Kentucky, and on May 29 in Texas. In June, the final primaries will set in California, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah.