Rand Paul

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Rand Paul
Rand Paul, official portrait, 112th Congress alternate.jpg
United States Senator
from Kentucky
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Serving with Mitch McConnell
Preceded byJim Bunning
Personal details
BornRandal Howard Paul
(1963-01-07) January 7, 1963 (age 52)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Kelley Ashby (1990–present)
RelationsRon Paul (father)
ChildrenWilliam, Duncan, Robert
Alma materBaylor University
Duke University
(Prev. Episcopalian)
WebsiteSenate website
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Not to be confused with Paul Rand.
Rand Paul
Rand Paul, official portrait, 112th Congress alternate.jpg
United States Senator
from Kentucky
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Serving with Mitch McConnell
Preceded byJim Bunning
Personal details
BornRandal Howard Paul
(1963-01-07) January 7, 1963 (age 52)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Kelley Ashby (1990–present)
RelationsRon Paul (father)
ChildrenWilliam, Duncan, Robert
Alma materBaylor University
Duke University
(Prev. Episcopalian)
WebsiteSenate website

Randal Howard "Rand" Paul (born January 7, 1963) is an American physician and politician from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In office since 2011, Paul currently serves in the United States Senate as a member of the Republican Party. He is also a trained ophthalmologist, and is the middle son of former U.S. Representative and physician Ron Paul of Texas. Paul has been considered a supporter of the Tea Party movement, and a vocal critic of the U.S. Federal Reserve.[2] He has opposed NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens[3] and supports reduced government spending and taxation.[4] He describes himself as "100% pro-life" and has sponsored legislation extending 14th Amendment rights to fetuses.[5]

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Paul attended Baylor University and is a graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine. Paul began practicing ophthalmology in 1993 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and established his own clinic in December 2007.

He is considered by some political analysts as a likely candidate for the Republican nomination for President in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[6][7][8]

Early life and education

Randal Howard Paul[9] was born on January 7, 1963, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Carol (née Wells) and Ron Paul. His father is a physician and former U.S. Representative of Texas' 14th congressional district. The middle child of five, his siblings are Ronald "Ronnie" Paul Jr., Lori Paul Pyeatt, Robert Paul, and Joy Paul-LeBlanc.[10] Paul was baptized in the Episcopal Church[11] and identified as a practicing Christian as a teenager.[12] Despite his father's libertarian views and strong support for individual rights,[12][13] the novelist Ayn Rand was not the inspiration for his first name. Growing up, he went by "Randy",[14] but his wife shortened it to "Rand."[12][15][16]

The Paul family moved to Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1968,[14][17] where he was raised[18][19] and where his father began a medical practice and for an extent of time was the only obstetrician in Brazoria County.[14][17] When he was 13, his father was elected to the United States House of Representatives.[20] That same year, Paul attended the 1976 Republican National Convention, where his father headed Ronald Reagan's Texas delegation.[21] The younger Paul often spent summer vacations interning in his father's congressional office.[22] In his teenage years, Paul studied the Austrian economists that his father respected, as well as the writings of Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand.[14] Paul went to Brazoswood High School and was on the swimming team and played defensive back on the football team.[12][18] Paul attended Baylor University from fall 1981 to summer 1984 and was enrolled in the honors program. During the time he spent at Baylor, he was involved in the swim team and the Young Conservatives of Texas and was a member of a secret organization known as the NoZe Brotherhood.[23] Paul also regularly contributed to The Baylor Lariat.[21] Paul left Baylor early, without completing either his Bachelor's degree in biology or in English,[24] when he was accepted into the Duke University School of Medicine. At the time, Duke did not require an undergraduate degree for admission to its graduate school. He earned a M.D. degree in 1988 and completed his residency in 1993.[25]

Medical career

Paul has held a state-issued medical license since moving to Bowling Green in 1993.[26] He received his first job from Dr. John Downing of Downing McPeak Vision Centers, which brought him to Bowling Green after completing his residency. Paul worked for Downing for about five years before parting ways. Afterwards, he went to work at the Gilbert Graves Clinic, a private medical group in Bowling Green, for 10 years before creating his own practice in a converted one-story house across the street from Downing's office.[27] After his election to the U.S. Senate, he merged his practice with Downing's medical practice.[28] Paul has faced two malpractice lawsuits between 1993 and 2010; he was cleared in one case while the other was settled for $50,000.[27] Regardless, his medical work has been praised by Downing and he has medical privileges at two Bowling Green hospitals.[26][27] Paul specializes in cataract and glaucoma surgeries, LASIK procedures, and corneal transplants.[15] As a member of the Bowling Green Noon Lions Club, Paul founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic in 2009 to help provide eye surgery and exams for those who cannot afford to pay.[29][dead link] Rand Paul won the Melvin Jones Fellow Award for Dedicated Humanitarian Services from the Lions Club International Foundation for his work establishing the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic.[30]

In 1995, Paul passed the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) boards on his first attempt and earned board-certification under the ABO for 10 years. In 1997, to protest the ABO's 1992 decision to grandfather in older ophthalmologists and not require them to be recertified every 10 years in order to maintain their status as board-certified practitioners, Paul, along with 200 other ophthalmologists, formed the National Board of Ophthalmology (NBO) to offer an alternative ophthalmology certification system.[31][32] The NBO was incorporated in 1999, but he allowed it to be dissolved in 2000 after not filing the required paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State's office. Paul later recreated the board in September 2005, three months before his original 10-year certification from the ABO lapsed. His ABO certification lapsed on December 31, 2005. Paul has since been certified by the NBO,[26] with himself as the organization's president, his wife as vice-president, and his father-in-law as secretary.[33] The ophthalmology board is not officially recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).[26] The NBO was again dissolved on September 10, 2011.[34]

Political activism

Paul served as the head of the local chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas during his time at Baylor University.[21] In 1984, Paul took a semester off to aid his father's primary challenge to Republican Senator Phil Gramm.[21] While attending Duke Medical School, Paul volunteered for his father's 1988 Libertarian presidential campaign.[22] In response to President Bush breaking his election promise to not raise taxes, Paul founded the North Carolina Taxpayers Union in 1991.[22] In 1994, Paul founded the anti-tax organization Kentucky Taxpayers United (KTU), serving as chair of the organization from its inception. He has often cited his involvement with KTU as the foundation of his involvement with state politics.[35] Described as "ideological and conservative" by the Lexington Herald-Leader, the group considered itself nonpartisan,[36][37] examining Kentucky legislators' records on taxation and spending and encouraging politicians to publicly pledge to vote uniformly against tax increases.[38][39] Paul managed his father's successful 1996 Congressional campaign, in which the elder Paul returned to the House after a twelve-year absence.[21] The elder Paul defeated incumbent Democrat-turned-Republican Greg Laughlin in the Republican primary, despite Laughlin's support from the NRCC and Republican leaders such as Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush.[21]

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2010 that although Paul had told a Kentucky television audience as recently as September 2009 that KTU published ratings each year on state legislators' tax positions and that "we've done that for about 15 years", the group had stopped issuing its ratings and report cards after 2002 and had been legally dissolved by the state in 2000 after failing to file registration documents.[35]

Paul spoke on his father's behalf when his father was campaigning for office,[40] including throughout the elder Paul's run in the 2008 presidential election, during which Rand campaigned door-to-door in New Hampshire[41] and spoke in Boston at a fundraising rally for his father on the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.[42]

In February 2014, Paul joined the Tea Party-affiliated conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks in filing a class-action lawsuit charging that the US government's bulk collection of Americans' phone records metadata is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.[43][44][45] Commenting on the lawsuit at a press conference, Paul said, "I'm not against the NSA, I'm not against spying, I'm not against looking at phone records.... I just want you to go to a judge, have an individual's name and [get] a warrant. That's what the Fourth Amendment says."[43] He also said there was no evidence the surveillance of phone metadata had stopped terrorism.[43] Critics, including Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz[46] and Steven Aftergood, the director of the American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy,[45] called the lawsuit a political "stunt". Paul's political campaign organization said that the names of members of the public who went to Paul's websites and signed on as potential class-action participants would be available in the organization's database for future campaign use.[43][47] On the announcement of the filing of the lawsuit, Mattie Fein, the spokeswoman for and former wife of attorney Bruce Fein, complained that Fein's intellectual contribution to the lawsuit had been stolen and that he had not been properly paid for his work.[48] Paul's representatives denied the charge, and Fein issued a statement saying that Mattie Fein had not been authorized to speak for him on the matter and that he had in fact been paid for his work on the lawsuit.[48]

Paul is co-author of a book entitled The Tea Party Goes to Washington (2011)[49][50] and also the author of Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds (2012).[51] Paul was included in Time magazine's world's 100 most influential people, for 2013 and 2014.[52][53]

Election to U.S. Senate

Primary campaign

Then-U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul speaking at a Tea Party rally in Hawesville, Kentucky on November 21, 2009.
Then-U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul greeting supporters at Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky on November 1, 2010.

At the beginning of 2009, there was movement by political supporters of his father to draft Paul in a bid to replace beleaguered Republican Kentucky senator Jim Bunning. Paul's potential candidacy was discussed in the Los Angeles Times[54] and locally in the Kentucky press.[55] Paul's father remarked, "Should Senator Bunning decide not to run, I think Rand would make a great U.S. Senator."[56]

On May 1, 2009, Paul officially confirmed that if Bunning, whose fundraising in 2009 matched his poor numbers in opinion polling for the 2010 election,[57] declined to seek a third term, he would almost certainly run in the Republican Party primary to succeed him,[58] and formed an exploratory committee soon after, while still promising to stay out of the race if Bunning ultimately decided to run for reelection. Paul made this announcement on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, though a Kentucky news site first broke the news.[59]

On July 28, 2009, Bunning announced that he would not run for reelection in the face of insufficient fundraising. The announcement left only Paul and Secretary of State Trey Grayson as the remaining candidates for the Republican nomination,[60] with Paul announcing on August 5, 2009 that he would officially run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican. The announcement was made through a series of national TV events, radio, and other programs, as well as newspapers in Kentucky.[61][62][63]

On August 20, 2009, Paul's supporters planned a moneybomb to kick off his campaign. The official campaign took in $433,509 in 24 hours. His website reported that this set a new record in Kentucky's political fundraising history in a 24-hour period.[64] A second "moneybomb" was held on September 23, 2009, to counter a D.C. fundraiser being held for primary opponent Trey Grayson, by 23 Republican United States Senators.[65] The theme was a UFC "fight" between "We the People" and the "D.C. Insiders".[66] Later in the campaign, Paul claimed his pledge to not take money from lobbyists and Senators who had voted for the bailout was only a "primary pledge";[67] he subsequently held a DC fundraiser with the same Senators who had been the target of the September 23, 2009 "moneybomb". Paul ended up raising some $3 million during the primary period. Paul's fundraising was aided by his father's network of supporters.[21]

Although Grayson was considered the frontrunner in July 2009,[68] Paul found success characterizing Grayson as a "career politician" and challenging Grayson's conservatism. Paul ran an ad in February that made an issue out of Grayson's September 2008 admission that he voted for Bill Clinton when he was 20 years old.[69] James Dobson, a Christian evangelical figure, endorsed Grayson on April 26 based on the advice of what Dobson described as "senior members of the GOP", but on May 3 the Paul campaign announced that Dobson had changed his endorsement to Paul[70] after Paul and some Paul supporters had lobbied Dobson insisting on Paul's social conservative bona fides.[71]

On May 18, Paul won the Republican Senatorial primary by a 23.4% margin,[72][73] meaning he would face the Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, in the November 2 general election.[74]

General campaign

In the 2010 general election, Paul faced Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. The campaign attracted $8.5 million in contributions from outside groups, of which $6 million was spent to help Paul and $2.5 million to help Conway. This money influx was in addition to the money spent by the candidates themselves: $6 million by Paul and $4.7 million by Conway.[75][76] On June 28, 2010, Paul supporters held their first post-primary online fundraising drive, this time promoted as a "money blast".[77][78]

Paul's campaign got off to a rough start after his comments on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stirred controversy.[79] Paul stated that he favored 9 out of 10 titles of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but that had he been a senator during the 1960s, he would have raised some questions on the constitutionality of Title II of the Act.[80] Paul said that he abhors racism, and that he would have marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to repeal Jim Crow Laws. He later released a statement declaring that he would have voted for the Act and stated "unequivocally ... that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964".[81][82] Later he generated more controversy by characterizing statements made by Obama Administration officials regarding the BP oil spill cleanup as sounding "un-American".[83]

Paul defeated Conway in the general election with 56% of the vote to 44% for Conway.

U.S. Senate career

112th Congress (2011–13)

Rand Paul being sworn in as a senator by Vice President Joe Biden, along with his family, in the Old Senate Chamber in the United States Capitol building

Paul was sworn in on January 5, 2011 along with his father, marking the first time in congressional history that someone served in the Senate while their parent simultaneously served in the House of Representatives.[84] He was assigned to serve on the Energy and Natural Resources, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Business committees.[85] Paul also formed the Senate Tea Party Caucus with Jim DeMint and Mike Lee as its inaugural members.[86] His first legislative proposal was to cut $500 billion from federal spending in one year. This proposal included cutting the Department of Education by 83 percent and the Department of Homeland Security by 43 percent, as well as folding the Department of Energy into the Department of Defense and eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Seven independent agencies would be eliminated and food stamps would be cut by 30 percent. Under Paul's proposal, defense spending would be reduced by 6.5 percent and international aid would be eliminated.[87] He later proposed a five-year budget plan intended to balance the budget.[88]

In February, Paul was one of two Republicans to vote against extending three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act (roving wiretaps, searches of business records, and conducting surveillance of "lone wolves"—individuals not linked to terrorist groups).[89][90]

On March 2, Paul was one of nine senators to vote against a stopgap bill that cut $4 billion from the budget and temporarily prevent a government shutdown, saying that it did not cut enough from the budget.[91] One week later, he voted against the Democratic and Republican budget proposals to keep funding the federal government, saying that both bills did not cut enough spending. Both bills failed to pass the Senate.[92] He later voted against stopgap measures on March 17 and April 8, both of which passed the senate.[93] On April 14, He was one of 19 senators to vote against a budget that cut $38.5 billion from the budget and fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.[94] Paul voiced opposition to U.S. intervention in the Libyan civil war and has criticized President Obama for not gaining congressional consent for Operation Odyssey Dawn.[95] During the debt ceiling crisis, the Senator stated that he would only support raising the debt ceiling if a balanced budget amendment was enacted.[96] Paul was a supporter of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which was tabled by Democratic opposition.[97] On August 3, Paul voted against a bill that would raise the debt ceiling.[98]

On September 7, Paul called for a vote of no confidence in U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.[99] Later that month, Paul blocked legislation that would strengthen safety rules for oil and gas pipelines because he stated the bill was not strong enough.[100] In October, Paul blocked a bill that would provide $36 million in benefits for elderly and disabled refugees, saying that he was concerned that it could be used to aid domestic terrorists. This was in response to two alleged terrorists, who came to the United States through a refugee program and were receiving welfare benefits, were arrested in 2011 in Paul's hometown of Bowling Green.[101] Paul lifted his hold on the bill after Democratic leaders promised to hold a Congressional hearing into how individuals are selected for refugee status and request an investigation on how the two suspects were admitted in the country through a refugee program.[102]

113th Congress (2013–15)

For the 113th Congress, Paul was added to the Foreign Relations committee and retained his spot on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Business committees.[103]

On March 6–7, 2013, Paul engaged in a filibuster to delay voting on the nomination of John O. Brennan as the Director of the CIA. Paul questioned the Obama administration's use of drones and the stated legal justification for their potential use within the United States. Paul held the floor for 12 hours and 52 minutes.[104] He ceded to several Republican senators and Democratic senator, Ron Wyden, who generally also questioned drone usage.[105][106] Paul noted his purpose was to challenge drone policy in general and specifically as it related to noncombatants on U.S. soil. He requested a pledge from the Administration that noncombatants would not be targeted on U.S. soil.[107] Attorney General Eric Holder responded that the President is not authorized to deploy extrajudicial punishment without due process, against non combatant citizens. Paul answered that he was "quite happy" with the response.[108] The filibuster was ended with a cloture vote of 81 to 16, and Brennan was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 63 to 34.[109]

Rand Paul speaking during his filibuster on the Senate floor on March 6, 2013.

In March 2013, Paul, with Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, threatened another filibuster, this one opposing any legislative proposals to expand federal gun control measures.[110] The filibuster was attempted on April 11, 2013, but was dismissed by cloture, in a 68–31 vote.[111] Also in March 2013, Paul endorsed fellow Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell's 2014 re-election campaign.[112] McConnell had previously hired Paul's 2010 campaign manager, Jesse Benton, as his own campaign manager.[113] Paul's endorsement was seen as a major win for McConnell in avoiding a challenge in the Republican primary.[112]

In response to Detroit's declaration of bankruptcy, Paul stated he would not allow the government to attempt to bail out Detroit. In a phone interview with Breitbart.com on July 19, 2013, Paul said, "I basically say he is bailing them out over my dead body because we don't have any money in Washington." Paul said he thought a federal bailout would send the wrong message to other cities with financial problems.[114]

In September, Paul stated that the United States should avoid military intervention in the ongoing Syrian civil war.[115] In an op-ed, Paul disputed the Obama administration's claims that the threat of military force caused Syria's government to consider turning over its chemical weapons, instead arguing that the opposition to military action in Syria, and the delay that it caused, led to diplomatic progress.[116]

In October 2013, Paul was the subject of some controversy when it was discovered that he had plagiarized from Wikipedia part of a speech in support of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. Referencing the movie Gattaca, Paul quoted almost verbatim from the Wikipedia article about the film without citing the source.[117][118][119] Evidence soon surfaced that Paul had copied passages in a number of his other speeches and published works nearly verbatim from other authors without giving credit to the original sources,[120][121] including in the speech he had given as the Tea Party rebuttal to the president's 2013 State of the Union address and in a three-page-long passage of Paul's book Government Bullies, which was taken directly from an article by the conservative think thank The Heritage Foundation.[122][123] When it became apparent that an op-ed article Paul had published in the Washington Times and testimony he had given before the Senate Judiciary Committee both contained material that was virtually identical to an article that had been published by another author in The Week a few days earlier,[124] the Washington Times said that the newspaper would no longer publish the weekly column Paul had been contributing to the paper.[125] After a week of almost daily news reports of new allegations of plagiarism, Paul said that he was being held to an "unfair standard", but would restructure his office in order to prevent mistakes in the future, if that would be what it would take "to make people leave me the hell alone."[126]

In response to political turmoil in Ukraine in early 2014, Paul initially said that the US should remain mindful of the fact that although the Cold War is over, Russia remains a military power with long-range nuclear missiles. He said that the US should try to maintain a "respectful relationship with Russia" and avoid taking actions that the Russians might view as a provocation, such as seeking to have Ukraine join NATO or otherwise interfering in Russia's relationship with Ukraine.[127] Two weeks later, after the Russian parliament authorized the use of military force in Ukraine[128] and Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military exercises along Russia's border with Ukraine,[129] Paul began taking a different tone.[130] He wrote: "Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine is a gross violation of that nation's sovereignty and an affront to the international community.... Putin must be punished for violating the Budapest Memorandum, and Russia must learn that the U.S. will isolate it if it insists on acting like a rogue nation."[131] He said that the US and European allies could retaliate against Russia's military aggression without any need for military action. He urged that the US impose economic sanctions on Russia and resume an effort to build defensive anti-missile installations in Poland and the Czech Republic. He also called for the US to take steps as a counterweight to Russia's strategic influence on Europe's oil and gas supply, such as lifting restrictions on new exploration and drilling for fossil fuels in the United States along with immediate approval of the controversial Keystone Pipeline, which he said would allow the US to ship more oil and gas to Europe if Russia attempts to cut off its own supply to Europe.[131]

Paul played a leading role in blocking a treaty with Switzerland that would enable the IRS to conduct tax evasion probes, arguing that the treaty would infringe upon Americans' privacy.[132] Paul received the 2014 Distinguished Service Award from the Center for the National Interest (formally called the Nixon Center) for his public policy work.[133]

In response to reports that the CIA infiltrated the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Paul called for the firing of CIA Director John O. Brennan.[134] In December 2014, Paul supported the actions to change the US policy towards Cuba and trade with that country taken by the Obama administration.[135]

114th Congress (2015–present)

In the beginning of 2015, Senator Paul re-introduced legislation that his father had long championed, which intends to provide a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve.[136] Senator Paul also introduced the FAIR Act, or Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act, which would restrict civil forfeiture proceedings.[137]

Committee assignments


2016 presidential politics

Rand Paul speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland on March 14, 2013

In a January 2013 interview, he spoke of a possible 2016 presidential candidacy. While not promising a run, he stated the decision would be made within the next two years. He also indicated his intention to shape GOP politics regardless of a run.[138] He delivered the Tea Party response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on February 13, 2013,[139] while Marco Rubio gave the official Republican response. This prompted some pundits to call that date the start of the 2016 Republican primaries.[140] In March he spoke at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington D.C.,[141] where he won the presidential straw poll with 25% of the votes cast.[142]

His 2013 itinerary reportedly included trips through several early primary states.[143] At a Christian Science Monitor–sponsored breakfast that month, he reaffirmed that he was considering a run for the presidency and said no decision would be made before 2014.[144]

Paul again spoke at CPAC in March 2014.[145][146][147] The day after his speech he won the presidential straw poll with 31% of the votes cast.[148][149][150]

The following month, Paul spoke at the GOP Freedom Summit, an event organized by Americans for Prosperity and Citizens United.[151] The event was attended by several potential presidential candidates.[152] In his speech, he insisted that the GOP has to broaden its appeal in order to grow as a party. To do so, he said it cannot be the party of "fat cats, rich people and Wall Street" and that the conservative movement has never been about rich people or privilege, "we are the middle class", he said. Paul also said that conservatives must present a message of justice and concern for the unemployed and be against government surveillance to attract new people to the movement, including the young, Hispanics, and blacks.[153][154][155]

In April 2011, Paul filed to run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2016.[156] If he does become the Republican presidential (or vice-presidential) nominee, state law prohibits him from simultaneously running for re-election.[157] In March 2014, the Republican-controlled Kentucky Senate passed a bill that would allow Paul to run for both offices, but the Democratic-controlled Kentucky House of Representatives declined to take it up.[158][159][160] Paul spent his own campaign money in the 2014 legislative elections, helping Republican candidates for the State House in the hopes of flipping the chamber, thus allowing the legislature to pass the bill (Democratic Governor Steve Beshear's veto can be overridden with a simple majority).[161][162] However, the Democrats retained their 54–46 majority in the State House.[163][164][165] Paul has since given his support to the idea that the Kentucky Republican Party could decide to hold a caucus rather than a primary, potentially giving Paul more time to decide whether he should run for U.S. Senator or continue a potential bid for President.

In addition to his own political prospects, in the lead up to the 2014 midterm elections, Paul made a point to campaign for several Senate and Congressional candidates, including Joni Ernst and Rod Blum in Iowa, former U.S. Senator Scott Brown in New Hampshire, David Perdue in Georgia Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Pat Roberts in Kansas.[166] Paul launched a social media campaign titled "Hillary's Losers" which was meant to highlight many of the Democratic candidates that lost their bids for the U.S. Senate despite endorsements from Clinton.[167]

Since the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, Senator Paul has made several moves towards a presidential run, including hiring staff in several states, setting up offices, and hiring a campaign manager. In January 2015, Rand Paul garnered the support of Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri, a move seen as crucial in taking on two other potential rivals with deep ties to Texas, Governor Rick Perry and Senator Ted Cruz. Paul also hired a digital strategist that previously worked on the Senate campaign for Ted Cruz, Vincent Harris, and also hired a campaign manager, Chip Englander, who previously led businessman Bruce Rauner's campaign for Governor in Illinois, beating incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn in a traditionally blue state.[168] Longtime Paul advisor Doug Stafford will also stay on as a senior political advisor to the Paul campaign.[168] A Super PAC has also been established by Paul veteran, and Campaign for Liberty President John Tate known as America's Liberty PAC, which has received the endorsement of Senator Paul, according to the organization's website. Campaign operations have also begun in many of the early states, with the hiring of Steve Grubbs, a former Chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, to run Paul's potential Iowa campaign, Michael Biundo, formerly campaign manager for Rick Santorum's 2012 presidential bid, in New Hampshire, Chris LaCivita, who advised Senator Pat Roberts and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in his gubernatorial bid, in South Carolina, and John Yob, a campaign operative, based in Michigan.[168] Through his political action committee, known as Rand PAC, or Reinventing A New Direction PAC, Paul has already begun touring many states seen as important in gathering both votes and fundraising dollars, allowing him to test the waters and determine whether his message will resonate if he does decide to enter the 2016 presidential election.[169] Paul has given a timeline of March or April in deciding whether he will enter the presidential race.[170]

After former Governor Mitt Romney announced that he would not seek a third presidential bid, political analyst Mark Halperin made a statement that he thought that Paul was the new frontrunner in the New Hampshire primary if it were to be held today.[171]

Political positions

A supporter of the Tea Party movement,[172][173] Paul has described himself as a "constitutional conservative".[174] He is generally described as a libertarian, a term he both embraced[175] and rejected[176] during his first Senate campaign. He supports term limits, a balanced budget amendment, and the Read the Bills Act, in addition to the widespread reduction of federal spending and taxation.[177] He has said that he favors some form of a flat tax, but has not released a detailed proposal.[178]

Rand opposes all forms of gun control as a violation of Second Amendment rights, including provisions of the Patriot Act.[179] His advocacy of personal property rights includes introducing House Bill S. 890, the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012. Provisions of the bill include restricting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency and other Federal agencies to "impinge upon states' power over land and water use." The bill holds requires Federal agencies to reimburse private property owners double the amount of any economic losses arising from new Federal regulations, and holds the enforcement of any such regulation in abeyance until such payments are complete.[180][181]

Unlike his more stridently "non-interventionist" father, Paul concedes a role for American armed forces abroad, including permanent foreign military bases.[182] He has said that he blames supporters of the Iraq War and not President Obama for the growth in violence that occurred in 2014, and that any threat to the USA from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was merely conjecture.[183] Dick Cheney, John McCain and Rick Perry have responded by calling Paul an isolationist,[184][185] but Paul has pointed to opinion polls of likely GOP primary voters as support for his position.[186] Paul also stated: "I personally believe that this group would not be in Iraq and would not be as powerful had we not been supplying their allies in the war [against Syrian Bashar al-Assad's government]."[187] Paul then supported airstrikes against ISIL, but questioned the constitutionality of Obama's unilateral actions without a clear congressional mandate.[188][189] Paul has stated concerns about arms sent to Syrian rebels that wind up in unfriendly hands.[190]

On social issues, Paul describes himself as "100% pro life",[5] believing that legal personhood begins at fertilization.[191][192][193] In 2009 his position was to ban abortion under all circumstances.[194][195] Since 2010 he has said he would allow for a doctor's discretion in life-threatening cases such as ectopic pregnancies.[196] Paul opposes same-sex marriage, but believes the issue should be left to the states to decide and would not support a federal ban.[197][198] He has criticized mandatory minimums that have led to unreasonably harsh sentences for repeated offenders. He has highlighted the case of Timothy L. Tyler as particularly unfair.[199] Paul does not believe in legalizing drugs like marijuana and cocaine at the federal level,[176] but supports state laws to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.[200]

In February 2015, Paul suggested that states should not require parents to vaccinate their children because parents should have the freedom to make that decision for their children. (Rand later clarified this statement and posted a video of himself being vaccinated on YouTube).[201]

Personal life

Paul is married to Kelley (née Ashby) Paul. They live in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where she is a freelance writer.[202] They have three sons: William, Duncan, and Robert.

See also


  1. ^ "About Rand Paul". RAND PAC – Reinventing A New Direction PAC. 
  2. ^ MacDonald, Allison (December 18, 2013). "Rand Paul to delay Yellen confirmation vote over 'Audit the Fed'". MSNBC. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ Topaz, Jonathan (June 9, 2013). "Rand Paul: NSA monitoring an 'extraordinary invasion of privacy'". Politico. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  4. ^ Burke, Alana Marie (December 22, 2014). "Rand Paul 2016: 7 Key Political Positions of GOP Presidential Hopeful". Newsmax. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Sanctity of Life". Rand Paul. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ Campbell, Colin (January 27, 2015). "Here's Why Rand Paul Might Be The Front Runner In The 2016 GOP Primary". Business Insider. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  7. ^ Allen, Mike (November 19, 2014). "Rand's grand plan". Politico. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ Jeremy W. Peters. November 23, 2014. Rand Paul Calls for a Formal Declaration of War Against ISIS "Mr. Paul, a likely presidential candidate who has emerged as one of the Republican Party's most cautious voices on military intervention, offered a very circumscribed definition of war in his proposal." New York Times. Retrieved: February 10, 2015.
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External links

Further reading
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Bunning
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Kentucky
(Class 3)

Most recent
United States Senate
Preceded by
Jim Bunning
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Kentucky
Served alongside: Mitch McConnell
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ron Johnson
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Richard Blumenthal