It’s happening: Republican campaigns prefer Rand Paul in 2016 over Jeb Bush and other establishment candidates

Rand Paul 2016

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul tops another list of popular 2016 Republican candidates in an unscientific survey by POLITICO.

More than 25 Republican campaign managers and strategists working on races this year named Paul over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and others as their top pick for President.

From the story:

POLITICO put the question in recent weeks to more than 25 GOP campaign managers, strategists and aides in competitive races across the country. Though it was not a scientific survey, their responses offered clues about which potential presidential hopefuls have the most cachet with down-ballot Republicans right now — and why.

Operatives mentioned Paul more than any other prospective 2016 candidate. Christie followed — despite the fallout from the so-called Bridgegate traffic scandal — thanks largely to his continued fundraising prowess. In the next tier were Walker and Ted Cruz, whose diverging styles each appeal to segments of the GOP. After them, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio each got multiple nods. It all speaks to the rowdy selection process that lies ahead for the party in 2016 – and, in the meanwhile, the menu of prominent supporters available to candidates on the 2014 map.

Senator Paul’s grasp of the issues, fundraising prowess, and Senate profile are all reasons cited by strategists and staffers — anonymously in most cases, so as not to isolate themselves and their respective campaigns from other potential 2016 contenders.

Outside of the campaign world, Paul consistently ranks at the top of the list of potential 2016 Republicans and has sought to build support from grassroots conservatives as well as establishment elements within the Republican Party.

Paul has also made genuine efforts to reach out to black Americans by leading on substantive policy issues, including school choice, economic opportunity, and sentencing reform.

A few weeks ago, Senator Paul swung through the Northeast, holding a fundraiser with a former Romney finance director and uniting Maine Republicans at their state convention. He rounded out the next week by addressing members of the Republican National Committee at their spring meeting in Memphis.

POLITICO covered those events in the broader context of Senator Paul’s growing appeal among more establishment elements within the GOP. There’s very little doubt that Senator Paul will be a strong contender in 2016, and he seems to be making a concerted effort to garner support from the grassroots and the establishment wings of the Republican Party.

If Paul is able to thread the needle between the two, he may prove the best, most electable option for Republicans in 2016.

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