“I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” Paul said on his website.
Paul, an ophthalmologist who has been a senator since 2011, is the second major-party candidate to enter the 2016 race, joining fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas. Sen. Marco Rubio, of Florida, is also expected to join the Republican race during an event on April 13.
Here’s what you need to know about Rand Paul and his announcement:
1. He Is Focusing On How He Differs From Other Republicans
Rand Paul focused his campaign kick-off on how he differs from the crowded Republican field.
Paul teased his campaign message earlier in the week in a video posted to Youtube called “A Different Kind of Republican Leader.” In the video, Paul’s speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference in February is highlighted, showing him saying “To fix Washington, we can’t have business as usual.” He won the presidential straw poll at CPAC for a third straight year after that speech.
The video also featured Paul’s 12-hour filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination as CIA director, which kicked off the “Stand With Rand” movement.
2. He Plans to Kick-Off His Campaign With Stops in 4 More States Over 4 Days
According to ABC News, Paul will hit the road quickly after making his announcement. He is set to appear Wednesday in New Hampshire, Thursday in South Carolina, Friday in Iowa and Saturday in Nevada.
Paul is expected to attend a rally in Milford, New Hampshire, the state that is home to the nation’s second primary. According to ABC News, he has been preparing for his first campaign stop by making several trips to New Hampshire.
He will then head to South Carolina, where ABC says he will focus on foreign policy during an event at the World War II-era Navy aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Yorktown.
Paul then makes a stop in Iowa, where he has already established a campaign headquarters, with an event at the University of Iowa. The state will be key for Republican candidates with the nation’s first caucuses.
He wraps up his five states in five days tour in Nevada at the Sierra Valley Community Center, where he will address seniors, according to ABC.
3. His Father, Ron Paul ran For President in 2012, 2008 & 1988
Rand Paul will be following in the footsteps of his father, former Congressman Ron Paul, who has run for president three times. He sought the Republican nomination in 2012 and 2008 and ran as the Libertarian Party’s candidate in 2008.
But Ron Paul is not expected to play a key role in Rand’s campaign, and his the younger Paul may try to drift away from his father’s libertarian legacy.
According to the New York Times, Ron Paul isn’t expected to play a major role in Rand’s campaign. But the elder Paul will be at the Lousiville kickoff of Rand’s campaign, according to the Times, as he is flying on a chartered plane from Minnesota, where he gave a talk Monday night. Many of Ron Paul’s supporters could take his appearance at his son’s side as somewhat of a reassurance that he hasn’t forgotten his libertarian roots.
But Brian Doherty, of Reason magazine, sad Ron Paul could be trouble for Rand as he tries to reach out to the Republican base. Doherty told the Times:
Ron Paul is a bomb waiting to go off. It would be silly to do this dual campaign thing, and I think they know it. Ron is going to say things that Rand is not going to want to stand behind.
But Ron Paul’s name could be important to Rand as he begins his campaign, especially in Iowa. David Fischer, the co-chairman of Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 Iowa campaigns and a former chairman of the Iowa GOP, told Politico:
I’m excited about the prospect of Senator Paul running for president and look forward to his visit to Iowa on April 10. If, as expected, he launches his presidential campaign I will be proud to stand with Rand, who I believe stands head and shoulders above the other prospects in terms of electability and commitment to our cherished principles of freedom and prosperity. I’ve talked to hundreds of people who supported Ron Paul and the vast majority of them are ready to stand with Rand.
4. He Has Libertarian Roots, But Is Trying to Reach a Broader Field of Voters
As Rand Paul neared his decision to run for president, his libertarian views became more cloudy. As the Washington Post notes, Paul began to try to reach out to a broader voter pool in the Republican party by taking a stronger stance on defense and foreign policy and by reaching out to the religious right by cementing his views on gay marriage, abortion and other social issues.
Drew Ivers, who was Ron Paul’s campaign chairman in Iowa in 2012, told the Washington Post about the younger Paul:
Rand has made it clear that his strategy is to embrace a broader group of Republicans than his dad captured. Whether he can pull it off has yet to be proven, and he has significant challenges, even though he’s a smart guy and capable.
The question is mathematics: How many people will he gain versus how many will he lose, both in terms of numbers and energy? I’d prefer if he had a different strategy, reaching out his arms to the center-right and saying ‘join me,’ rather than meeting them in the middle.
5. He Is Married With 3 Sons
Though he is the Senator from Kentucky and the couple now lives in Bowling Green, Rand Paul was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Texas.
The then-Kelley Ashby was born in Russellville, Kentucky. Her parents, Hilton and Lilian Ashby, still live in the town, and Paul announced the launch of his Senatorial campaign from Russellville.
She said at a speaking engagement in Owensboro in 2010 that although Rand was not born in the state, “(she) got him here as soon as (she) could.”
Ashby Paul, 50, is considered to be a dominant force in her husband’s political thinking, described in . a Vogue profile as her husband’s “secret-weapon wife” and a “secret asset”.
Kelley Paul left her job in 2014 at the political consulting firm Strategy Group for Media, where one client she worked for was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of her husband’s key Republican rivals, in a move that many saw as clearing the way for Rand’s presidential run.
She told WKYU about her time working with Cruz:
Yes, that’s interesting isn’t it? During Rand’s campaign I worked very closely with our media firm and so for a while I did work for them and did some GOP media consulting and work on some of the initial advertising campaign for Ted when he was running in the primary in Texas.
The couple’s sons William, Duncan, and Robert Paul range in age from 14 to 21.