Rand Paul Makes It Official: He’s Running

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Rand Paul makes it official: He’s running

By Seema Mehta

Los Angeles Times


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sen. Rand Paul made it official Tuesday morning, announcing on his campaign website he is running for president, becoming the second major candidate to formalize his plans to seek the White House in 2016.

He was scheduled to formally declare his candidacy in a speech in Louisville, Ky., later Tuesday.

“I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” he announced online.

The first-term senator from Kentucky has gathered supporters for a noon rally at the historic Galt House on the Ohio River. He then plans to barnstorm around the states that hold the earliest GOP presidential nominating contests, with events scheduled in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada in the following days.

Paul previewed his campaign theme in a video he released Monday that portrayed him as “a different kind of Republican.”

“It’s time for a new way, a new set of ideas, a new leader, one you can trust, one who works for you, and above all, it’s time for a new president,” Paul said in the two-minute, 40-second video, which concluded with chants of “President Paul! President Paul!”

An insurgent whose 2010 election to the Senate was fueled by the rise of the tea party, Paul is the son of former Rep. Ron Paul, who ran for president three times. Paul shares his father’s libertarian leanings, often irritating his Republican colleagues in the nation’s capital, though he is more ideologically flexible than the elder Paul.

The Kentucky senator’s event comes eight days after his GOP colleague, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, announced that he would run for the White House. Cruz, a tea party favorite who gained fame for a nearly 22-hour filibuster urging the defunding of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, appeals to many of the same voters who would form Paul’s base.

Getting his name known in what is shaping up as a crowded Republican race has been a challenge for the first-term senator — both nationally and in the key early states that will help winnow the GOP field. Both he and Cruz have been overshadowed during the last few months by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has put on a fierce fundraising effort, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose anti-union and Midwestern sensibilities have found favor among many Republicans.

As he neared an official announcement, Paul has sought to broaden his support by courting groups that do not traditionally align with the GOP – minorities and college students — as well as conservatives outside the libertarian wing.

But he has faced criticism from hawkish members of his own party over his more isolationist foreign-policy views. On Sunday, in one notable slap, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that Paul was the sole potential candidate in the 2016 field who could not get a better nuclear deal with Iran than the one announced by Obama’s administration last week.

Paul, long a critic of high levels of defense spending and wary of overseas entanglements, has sought to tamp down such concerns. In late March, he proposed increasing the defense budget by nearly $190 billion over the next two years, a move first reported by Time magazine.

Meanwhile, Paul also has had to deal with a domestic complication – a Kentucky law that would force him to choose between running for president or seeking re-election to the Senate in 2016. The state forbids a name from appearing twice on the same ballot. A proposal that gives Paul the ability to run for both received preliminary approval by state GOP leaders in March. The move could be formally adopted in August.


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