Three years ago, he was a Kentucky ophthalmologist running for office as an underdog in the shadow of his famous congressman father. But these days, Tea Party-favorite Rand Paul has some bigger decisions to make about his future, including whether he’ll run for president in 2016.

Mrs. Rand Paul not quite sold on 2016

(Image: AP)

In a glamorous profile from Vogue this week, the senator and his family discuss the possibilities:

As the election gets into early, unmistakable gear, everyone is weighing Paul’s chances against a broad field of Republicans—including Florida senator Marco Rubio, Texas senator Ted Cruz, and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, with whom Paul has often sparred. No less an authority than his own parents suggest that he’s readying a bid. “Ron thinks it’s terribly early to be starting a campaign,” Rand’s mother, Carol, tells me over the phone from her house in Texas, referring to her husband, who is at that moment swimming laps in the couple’s pool and otherwise keeping busy in retirement with the online Ron Paul Channel and other projects. However, the prospect of a Rand Paul presidential campaign “feels real,” she adds. “Rand says he won’t declare that he’s going to run until after 2014. . . . Groundwork has to be set.”

Meanwhile, the senator’s wife, Kelley, admits that she’s a bit wary of throwing her family into a national campaign:

“Because in this day and age it’s mostly about character assassination,” she says. “When I think of the tens of millions of dollars in opposition research that they’d be aiming right at us and our family—that’s what it’s about.”

What do you think:  Will Paul run in 2016 and would you support or oppose him?