Until as late as 2007, no one was really quite sure if the ophthalmologist would ever follow in the footsteps of his father, former Texas Congressman and libertarian icon, Ron Paul. After all, he has never openly displayed any ambition for even state level politics. His seemingly abandoned advocacy group, the Kentucky Taxpayers United, along with the opening of his own private medical practice in Bowling Green, strengthened the impression that the Duke graduate was content on watching his father from the sidelines.
All that changed when Rand traveled with his father’s campaign across ten states during the 2008 Republican primary season. Speaking to supporters at numerous rallies and stopovers, Rand was polished, knowledgeable, and above all, struck a deep chord with the embryonic Tea Party movement. The following year, the self -professed constitutional conservative launched his Senatorial campaign, and within 24 hours of his announcement, created political online history in Kentucky when his campaign collected over $430,000 in donations.
Rand Paul candidacy announcement, April 7, 2015.
Rand would go on to defeat the favorite, Kentucky’s Secretary of State Trey Grayson, in the Republican primary by 23.4% to set up a contest with Democrat Jack Conway, the state’s Attorney General. In a surprising turn, Rand and PACs working on his behalf received almost 50% more contributions compared to Conway, allowing him to claw back from a 5% polling deficit to a 15% lead. Rand maintained his form in the run up to the general election to emerge as the winner by a comfortable 11% margin. His swearing in on January 5, 2011, marked the first time that a father and son combo served in Congress.
Senator Paul currently sits on five Senate Committees and is roundly seen as the leader of the conservative-libertarian bloc in Congress.
He announced his 2016 candidacy in Louisville, Kentucky on April 7, 2015. Immediately following the announcement, he set out on a four-day tour of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, all among the first states holding 2016 primaries or caucuses. The Paul campaign has adopted the slogan, “Defeat the Washington Machine, Unleash the American Dream.”