(Washington Post) The news that Rand Paul will headline the Republican Party of Iowa’s “Lincoln Dinner” in May is the latest sign that the Kentucky Senator is an all-but-announced candidate for the GOP’s presidential race.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has made no bones about his interest in running for president in 2016.

And, while Paul’s interest in the race is no surprise — he has, after all, been very open about wanting to run – the aggressiveness (and earliness) with which he is pursuing that interest will almost certainly flush other would-be contenders out into the open sooner than they might like.

“With the Paul faction in complete control of the state party, they’re doubling down hard by having him headline the highest profile dinner of the season,” said Dave Kochel, who ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 Iowa campaign. “It’s definitely going to pressure other hopefuls to get a foothold in Iowa on an earlier timetable.”

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