March 27th, 2014
11:28 AM ET
9 months ago

Rand Paul takes another step towards White House run

Washington (CNN) - Rand Paul has long been very open about his ambitions for higher office, telling CNN as early as November 2012, just weeks after the last presidential election, of his interest in running for the White House.

And the Republican senator from Kentucky is on top of the pack in CNN's most recent poll in the hypothetical race for the 2016 GOP nomination.

Now, Paul's become the first of the potential Republican White House contenders to put together a political organization in all 50 states. It's the latest sign that the senator is working to assemble a much wider network than his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, did when the longtime congressman from Texas made bids for the GOP nomination in 2008 and 2012 with extremely strong but narrow backing from libertarian-leaning voters.

A senior adviser to Paul confirms to CNN that the senator's 50-state network, first reported earlier Thursday by the Washington Post's Robert Costa, includes more than 200 people, including many who in the past have backed more tradition Republicans. The network is set up through Rand Paul Victory, the umbrella organization that includes Rand PAC, which is the senator's political action committee, and Rand Paul 2016, his Senate re-election campaign.

"It's a mix of folks that will help with finance efforts and with grassroots activist outreach. The people are a blend of traditional Republicans, conservative activists, and libertarians," Doug Stafford, Paul's chief political adviser, told CNN.

Another Paul aide said that the evolving organization means that there are "people ready and waiting to help" when Paul travels across the country.

The first-term senator has been making the rounds in the crucial early voting states in the presidential primary and caucus calendar, such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and Nevada, and has addressed grassroots conservative audiences across the country.

Paul's efforts in building a network in Iowa, which kicks off the caucus and primary season, are well underway.

"A lot of Iowans are excited about the prospect of Senator Paul running for President. They've seen his ability to unite a broad spectrum of conservatives and attract young people and independents," David Fischer, co-chairman of Ron Paul's 2012 efforts in Iowa and a former co-chairman of the state's Republican party, told CNN.

But Paul has also traveled to spots that GOP lawmakers rarely venture. The most recent example: earlier this month Paul gave a speech at the historically liberal-leaning University of California at Berkeley, where he talked about the National Security Agency's surveillance program and the Republican Party's need for change.

Paul: GOP like bad pizza crust

The trip was part of Paul's effort to appeal to younger voters and minorities, groups that traditionally favor Democrats.

Earlier this month, Paul won the much-watched GOP presidential nomination straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference. It was the second straight victory for Paul at CPAC, where his speech was well received.

A week after this year's CPAC, Paul came out on top at a straw poll at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in New Hampshire.

As Paul works to broaden his base of support, he's done something his father never did - top the list of potential Republican presidential candidates in a national poll.

According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted earlier this month, 16% of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP said they would be likely to support Paul for the 2016 nomination. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, was one point back, at 15%.

Longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who's considering another bid for the White House, was at 11% in the poll, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who's also mulling another campaign, was at 10%.

Rand Paul clearly a 2016 factor

Santorum "very open" to another White House bid

Huckabee gets warm reception from House Republicans


Filed under: 2016 • Rand Paul • Ron Paul
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......

    Civil Rights people. Civil Rights. Anyone that believes it is ok to discriminate against others for any reason doesn't belong anywhere near the Oval Office.

    March 27, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    Run, run, run. Entire Republican Party has no chance, because this nation saw strong blows from Bush, Reagan. And Republican congress idiots day-today rants not doing any substantial bills, I.e, JOBS BILLS. EXCEPT THEIR BICKERING ON NATION'S DIRE NEEDED LAW OF HEALTHCARE. DO THEY AT LEAST KNOW NOW ACA IS A LAW? I think these GOP idiots are sold out to bunch of insurance thugs, Hospital loots, pharmacy corporations, etc. Very pathetic.

    March 27, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Sheldon Adelson is holding the republican primary this week in Vegas, so Rand may be premature in measuring the drapes in the White House.

    March 27, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Speaking of Adelson, I read that he gave a large campaign donation to Lindsay Graham so Lindsay would introduce a bill to outlaw on line gambling on Sheldon,s behalf.

    March 27, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Please, please, please let him run. He'll be just one more nail in the republican coffin. Please run, Rand.

    March 27, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. pbcalif

    Rand Paul is not presidential material. So far, not a single Republican who is aspiring, is not even close to being Presidential. These aspirants are so idealogical, they can't possibly represent this country.

    March 27, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Let's take a look at the current leaders of the pack.

    Rick Perry – "Oops."
    Mike Huckabee – "Uncle Sugar."
    Paul Ryan – "I haven't run the numbers, yet."
    Rand Paul – "I would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act."

    The field just keeps getting weaker and weaker. Christie just might be able to take it after all.

    March 27, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Mario

    Rand Paul don't waist your time trying to run for president. Having Tea Partyer for president is like having a PUTIN running America.

    March 27, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    He has about as much chance of getting the nomination as does Ted Cruz – and he's not even eligible under current law.

    March 27, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People

    Every step Aqua Buddha makes towards the White House is another step the GOP takes towards the cliff and into oblivion!

    Keep up that march to "purity"!

    March 27, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    "But Paul has also traveled to spots that GOP lawmakers rarely venture. The most recent example: earlier this month Paul gave a speech at the historically liberal-leaning University of California at Berkeley, ..... ..."
    ---------------------------
    Let's be fair and balanced. Let's not forget about the condescending speech that he gave at Howard University last year this time. Most of the thime he sounded like he was addressing first graders.

    March 27, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    Can't wait to see him stumble and fall.

    March 27, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. guest

    mr. paul, we hear your message of smaller government, but we fear that you mean something different. We know you represent almost no regulation on business leaders, which is a problem, proven many times over. What we fear most though is that you only mean no regulation for business and financials, and that you are also going to be super-hypocritical and impose very strict social controls on the country. Please explain to your peers and party mates that the strict social agenda is what drives people away from your party most.

    We do not want to put morally defunct politicians in office just to prevent the republican sharia law from taking hold. And it would be really nice if we didnt have to choose to also unleash businesses to rain destruction on our lives and environment.
    Thanks,
    Typical american

    March 27, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. jrcomo35713

    More trouble for the GOP frontrunners...

    March 27, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted earlier this month, 16% of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP said they would be likely to support Paul for the 2016 nomination. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, was one point back, at 15%."

    Some of that GOPerville "enthusiasm" factor we keep hearing about better run off into 2016. At best, these numbers are as dismal as it gets.

    March 27, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Tired of it

    I always come to CNN hoping to find some moderate comments on the boards and once again all I find are fanatic liberals. Go to FOX News and all I get is fanatic concervatives. I suppose the country really is just divided into two camps and the rest of us are the silent majority. Sad, very sad for our country.

    March 27, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Independent Not Voting For DEMS Anymore

    AS an independent with a free thinking mind, I would vote for Rand if he runs. I have voted both GOP and DEM, but am not at all impressed with the progressive style the democrats of today use. Their agenda is simply to name call and never face the facts. Not my style of politics at all. Rand, Sir, you will have my vote.

    March 27, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. [name intensifies]

    Dig up your most mis-informative one-liners Dems. You'll need them to make yourself feel like anyone would ever want to vote for Hillary.

    March 27, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. John Smith

    Once there was talk in this country about the need for a third party. With the demise of the GOP due to self styled candidates like Rand Paul and others our country will need a second party!

    March 27, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    est

    mr. paul, we hear your message of smaller government, but we fear that you mean something different. We know you represent almost no regulation on business leaders, which is a problem, proven many times over. What we fear most though is that you only mean no regulation for business and financials, and that you are also going to be super-hypocritical and impose very strict social controls on the country. Please explain to your peers and party mates that the strict social agenda is what drives people away from your party most.
    -------------------------–
    Good call. Deregulate the wealth. Overregulate the people. Has anyone else noticed that the countries with the smallest goverments relative to the size of the populations tend to be the most oppressive governments found anywhere?

    March 27, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. The REAL Truth...

    @Tampa Tim – Speaking of Adelson, I read that he gave a large campaign donation to Lindsay Graham so Lindsay would introduce a bill to outlaw on line gambling on Sheldon,s behalf.
    ----------------------------------
    Not sure about that, but he DOES want online gambling outlawed as it DIRECTLY competes with his brick-and-mortar gambling establishments. I guess keeping those is OK with the Grand Oligarchy Party – the party of family values (if the price is right) and personal responsibility..

    March 27, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Lynda wrote:

    "According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted earlier this month, 16% of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP said they would be likely to support Paul for the 2016 nomination. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, was one point back, at 15%."

    Some of that GOPerville "enthusiasm" factor we keep hearing about better run off into 2016. At best, these numbers are as dismal as it gets.
    ---------------------–
    I wonder how the "some other candidate" polled. That person led for most of the 2012 campaigns.

    March 27, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. pablo

    I'm glad to see more people recognizing this man's past and present opinion of civil rights. It's simply not a healthy view for anyone. This is progress?

    March 27, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. Boo

    Hell will freeze over before I vote for this guy.

    March 27, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Silence DoGood

    Modern "libertarian" is just a code name for ultra-conservative nowadays. If you take most controls and regulations out of government, then the biggest gorillas take over. Corporations which are doing well now and Radical Right Christian groups which are on fire with imaginary demons attacking them. These two would fight and merge to form a corporate theocracy that would end freedom for all.

    March 27, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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