Dr. Rand Paul
Dr. Paul is seriously considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2010.
Not Dr. Ron Paul, obstetrician, U.S. congressman and former presidential hopeful from Texas, however, but his son, Dr. Rand Paul, an eye surgeon from Kentucky.
Rand Paul has established an exploratory committee and campaign website to look at securing the Republican nomination for Senate, anticipating the retirement of Kentucky sitting GOP senator, Jim Bunning, at the end of his current term.
For the past 15 years, Dr. Paul has been the chairman of the Kentucky Taxpayers United, a group that monitors and rates the State Legislature, and has been active in his father’s campaigns for even longer.
Like his father, Rand Paul touts a strong commitment to Second Amendment gun rights, U.S. sovereignty, holding the Federal Reserve accountable, lower taxes and less spending.
Though Rand Paul has never before sought public office, his website explains repeatedly, “His entrance into politics is indicative of his life’s work: a desire to diagnose problems and provide practical solutions.”
In announcing the formation of his exploratory committee on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” Paul explained that he believes Republicans have “lost their mojo” – as well as their believability – by claiming to be the party of fiscal responsibility but voting for massive spending hikes and government bailouts.
“So I think it is going to take some new people,” Paul said, “somebody outside the traditional politician to do something good for the Republican Party.”
Video of Paul’s announcement and interview with Maddow can be seen below:
As Maddow pointed out in the interview, Paul’s potential candidacy is overshadowed by the status of incumbent Republican Senator and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Jim Bunning.
As of yet, the 77-year-old Bunning has not officially announced his plans for retirement, and Paul has expressed equal hesitancy to announce a challenge to Bunning in the primaries.
Last month, however, Kentucky GOP Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced that he would also form an exploratory committee to run for Bunning’s seat – a move that several reports suggest indicates Bunning’s planned retirement. One source told Politico that Bunning even pushed Grayson to form the committee as a way of handpicking his successor.
“He told Trey [Grayson] to do this,” one senior congressional official told Politico. “Why else would he tell his main rival to prepare for a run?”
Other sources, including leaders within the Democratic Party, see Grayson as chosen to fill Bunning’s shoes by Kentucky’s other Republican senator, Mitch McConnell.
Bunning’s seat has been considered critical, even in jeopardy of being lost to a Democrat, in the closely split U.S. Senate.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Eric Schultz told Politico, “We feel that Democrats can pick up Kentucky’s Senate seat whether Sen. Bunning or Senator McConnell’s handpicked candidate Trey Grayson is running.”
Paul, thus far, has said he does not plan on running against Bunning in a primary, though at the same time, he hopes Bunning will not wait to announce a retirement right before the election, thus eliminating a meaningful primary.
Paul also told political commentator and author Lew Rockwell in a podcast that he might be persuaded to officially jump into the ring if financial disclosures at the end of the quarter in July showed Bunning clearly not gearing up for a campaign or if his supporters donated a “significant amount of money” – an undisclosed amount, though he did mention offhand “a million dollars” – which might convince him a primary battle is earnestly desired.
According to Paul’s website, fundraisers are scheduled for Bowling Green in July and Texas in August. Tentative plans are for fundraisers in California in September, Florida in October and New York in November. The website also reports Paul has raised over $68,000 so far.