Update, April 7, 10:23 a.m.: Paul has announced his candidacy on his campaign website.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is expected to officially launch his presidential bid today, making him the second major Republican candidate to enter the race, after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Last week, Paul released a YouTube video previewing his big announcement and proclaiming that on April 7 “one leader will stand up to defeat the Washington machine and unleash the American dream.” The video fades to black with loud chants of “President Paul!”
Paul will reportedly announce his candidacy during a Tuesday morning rally at Louisville’s Galt House Hotel and then embark on a weeklong campaign tour of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada—the key early primary states. He’ll also stop in California’s Orange County, home to many wealthy Republicans, for a fundraiser.
Paul’s preannouncement video brands him as a “different kind of Republican.” That, he is. The ophthalmologist-senator’s libertarian streak and popularity with young people certainly set him apart from his likely GOP rivals. But his past conspiracy-theorizing—and the controversial pronouncements of his father, Ron Paul—separate him from the pack for less positive reasons.
Check out the best of Mother Jones‘ coverage of Rand Paul:
- Rand Paul could be the most interesting conspiracy theorist in Washington.
- Before pocketing special interest cash, Paul railed against big-money influence in politics.
- He was in favor of cutting US aid to Israel—before he was against it.
- His feud with Dick Cheney goes way back, and it’s nasty.
- Like his father, Paul has argued for a less aggressive US foreign policy—but slammed Obama for not being tough enough on Russia.
- Paul has continued to challenge the GOP’s hawks, but has toned down his rhetoric recently.
- His record on domestic violence and gender pay equity is far from exemplary.
- Paul has been vocal on criminal-justice reform, and he wants to allow ex-felons in his state to vote.
- If nothing else, Paul’s turtlenecks and jeans have won him the fashion primary. The crazy-dad primary, in which Rand will have to duke out with Ted Cruz, will be another story.