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Rep. Ron Paul entered the 2012 presidential campaign in April, making it his third run for the White House. When he ran for president in 2008, he lost every single Republican primary. For nearly a decade, he wasn’t even a member of the GOP.

But a combination of timing, technology and four decades of political activism on the conservative fringe have turned Paul into a sort of icon with an activist networking and a fundraising list that puts those of his colleagues to shame. In July 2011, Paul announced he would not seek reelection in 2012 regardless of the outcome of the presidential race.

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