Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced at least part of his plans to run for office in 2016, even as questions loom about how Kentucky law will affect his White House ambitions.
Paul announced Tuesday that he is seeking re-election to the Senate, even as a state law prevents a candidate from appearing on the ballot more than once. Paul and other Kentucky Republicans have argued that only pertains to state, not federal, offices.
In a statement announcing his re-election campaign, Paul made no mention of any presidential aspirations, but he did lay out campaign initiatives that were national in scope, including reigning in the Environmental Protection Agency, criminal justice reform, giving tax benefits to poorer areas to promote development and leading the fight against the No Child Left Behind education law.
“I ran for office because, like many Kentuckians, I was alarmed at the problems facing our country: a stagnant and uneven economy, a growing national debt, out-of-control federal spending, a disastrous health care plan, the assault on our civil rights and liberties, and a misguided foreign policy,” Paul said. “I have drawn attention to these problems and others here in Kentucky, like the war on coal, an overzealous EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, and the ban on industrial hemp. I have sought to work with any and all who are eager to find solutions and promote reforms. I stand with Kentucky in this fight, and I hope to continue together in the task of repairing and revitalizing our great nation.”
Kentucky's presidential primary won't occur until May 2016, by which point a GOP candidate may have well clinched the nomination.
In 2010, Paul ran an uphill Senate primary challenge against Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell's hand-picked candidate, and the choice of the state’s GOP establishment.
Not surprisingly, the incumbent Paul now has establishment support. Every member of Kentucky’s Republican congressional delegation supports him for re-election, as does McConnell, the incoming Senate majority leader.
“I am proud to support my friend Rand Paul for his re-election to the U.S. Senate,” McConnell said in a statement. ”Rand has been an irreplaceable partner in fighting for Kentucky priorities and Kentucky values. His innovative mind for conservative reforms that create jobs and get the economy working again is essential in the U.S. Senate as we seek to reverse Obama policies that have hurt Kentucky families.”