This isn’t exactly a surprise since he’s made some high-profile speeches and interviews over the last several months and engaged in a well-covered 13-hour filibuster last month that was the talk of Washington, DC, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) confirmed what most of us already knew — that he is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016:
Tea Party favorite and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday said he is strongly considering a 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, announcing plans to travel to at least three key primary states this summer.
“We’re considering it,” he said at a morning newsmaker breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Paul, heir to his father former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s libertarian voting and fundraising base, said that he is already planning to visit three early primary states this summer — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And Paul said he “will continue to travel to the early primary states.”
Paul was careful to note that a decision wouldn’t come until after the 2014 mid-term election, but also explained that speculation of a presidential run is “something that allows [him] to have a larger microphone.” A recent NBC/WSJ poll shows that Paul has a higher favorability rating among Republicans and independents than his colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is also considered to be a presidential contender in 2016.
Paul is also laying the path for the type of evolution the Republican Party needs to have in order to stay competitive in national politics. In an op-ed published yesterday at Rare, Paul wrote, “Fiscal conservatism, a more prudent foreign policy, ending mandatory minimums and immigration reform coupled with border security are but a few issues Republicans can lead on if we want to build the necessary coalitions that will allow us to remain a governing national party.”
“If we’re going to start winning on the West Coast and in New England, and if we’re going to attract the young, we must change. If we don’t evolve and adapt, the Republican Party will die,” he continued. “The GOP of old, stale and moss-covered, is largely responsible for our party’s current quandary. Only a new breed of Republican—bold, innovative and dedicated to liberty—can get us out of it.”
Whatever his decision on a presidential bid in 2016, Paul is already changing the way the Republican Party thinks. Whether the Kentucky Senator wins the nomination or not, this new direction is path for the GOP stay relevent, and perhaps, the only one that does it without compromising principled beliefs.