Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is officially running for president. He formally announced his intent to run this morning at a rally in Louisville.
“I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” Paul wrote on his website.
Paul, a libertarian surgeon, joined the Senate in 2010 and built his brand advocating for civil liberties, and a more “hands-off” government. Rand, the son of three-time presidential hopeful Ron Paul is doing something his father never did: run a campaign that could attract voters from both sides of the aisle. This could give him an advantage later in the general election.
Rand Paul has long enjoyed strong tea-party support; the group even helped him win the Senate. Paul gained notoriety from his readiness to challenge everyone, including other Republicans, on issues like national security spending, Common Core and medical marijuana.
Paul has a long history of leaning right, however, in the weeks and months leading up to his announcement, he has remained noticeably silent on several controversial issues, including the recent religious freedom laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas. Critics of the laws say that they will allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
Rand Paul has proposed a series of “common sense” policies in Washington, including introducing term limits for congress, and cutting off foreign aid to countries he considers “haters of America.” He has also rallied against surveillance of web and phone records. Paul’s policies are both liberal and conservative. Does this improve his chances of a successful presidential run?
Does the Rand Paul campaign have a better chance of success than his father’s? Could he gain enough political momentum to steal votes from Hillary Clinton?
Aaron Blake, political reporter with the Washington Post
John Samples, vice president and publisher of the Cato Institute - a think tank focused on libertarian principles