U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has effectively given up his presidential campaign but will not give up his delegates to Mitt Romney.
Paul, a Texas Republican, said he would no longer compete in his party’s primaries, leaving Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the only viable candidate for the GOP nod still running.
Romney remains about 200 delegates shy of securing the nomination, but his erstwhile rivals, including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, have either formally endorsed him or pledged to do so.
The Washington Times reported Tuesday that Paul would retain his delegates in order to leverage influence.
“Our delegates can still make a major impact at the national convention and beyond,” Jesse Benton, a top strategist for Paul, said in a memo obtained by the Times.
Paul’s presence and influence in the race helped veer the other candidates to embrace some of his libertarian ideas, particularly on reducing or eliminating the role of government in the financial system.
His isolationist views, especially on cutting assistance to Israel, have not gained as much traction.