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February 12, 2016

Posts in "Rand Paul"

February 8, 2016

Rand Paul’s ‘Long Haul’ Cut Short

Paul will pick up his Senate campaign. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Things didn’t go the way Paul might have hoped as he pursued his presidential aspirations. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, maybe the necessities of a modern presidential campaign were just a bit too much.

A former strategist for the Republican said while Paul’s drive to become president was never in question, the first-term senator’s national ambition “clashed against his personality – his prickliness, not wanting to do certain things and not being comfortable” with everything from making the ask on the fundraising circuit to what is asked of a candidate in this digital age. Full story

February 3, 2016

Rand Paul Suspends Presidential Campaign

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 18 - Rev. Robert Johnson, of Waukee, Iowa, asks a question to republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at a campaign stop at Platinum Kutz barber shop in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, Jan 18, 2016. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Rev. Robert Johnson talks to Paul, R-Ky. at a campaign stop at Platinum Kutz barber shop in Des Moines ahead of the Iowa Caucuses. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday that he will suspend his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, opting to focus instead on his on his re-election effort this year.

The announcement came two days after the libertarian-leaning senator finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses with just 4.5 percent of the vote, well behind the two other senators in the race who have gained much more traction, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.  Full story

February 1, 2016

Rand Paul Doubles Down on Wonky

Paul thanked volunteers and stuck to a wonky script on Monday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Paul thanked volunteers and stuck to a wonky script on Monday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

WAUKEE, Iowa — Sen. Rand Paul has employed a close-to-the-bone strategy for the Iowa caucuses, relying on the enthusiasm of student volunteers to get out the vote and, down to the wire, going all in on wonky policy to make his case.

“You guys have made a million phone calls for me and I really appreciate it,” he told a rowdy crowd at the Hy-Vee Market Grille here Monday. Full story

Going Full Grassley on the Iowa Caucuses

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 29 - Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks as Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, departs during a campaign stop at the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Kasich, left, and Grassley address a rally at the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

WATERLOO, Iowa — Republican candidates learn a lot on the trail when they’re competing in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Along with the sanctity of ethanol and the primacy of pork products, they eventually grasp this is Sen. Charles E. Grassley’s state. When you run for president here, at some point, Iowa’s senior senator will appear alongside you, and everyone knows who he is.

“I didn’t know Grassley was going to show up,” said Bill Davidson, a bartender at The Supervisors Club, where the senator was introducing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Davidson sounded impressed, as if the event, being repeated over and over throughout the state in the run-up to Monday’s caucuses, had been elevated.

Full story

January 20, 2016

What Does It Take to Bring Cruz, Rubio and Paul to D.C.?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The chance to vote for a procedural measure on a bill that would enact more stringent restrictions on Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the country drew all all three Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for the presidency to Washington 12 days before the Iowa caucuses. Full story

January 19, 2016

Kentucky Democrats Running out of Time to Challenge Paul

With a week to file, no Rand Paul challenger has emerged after Democrats in his home state experienced big losses statewide last November.  (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

With a week to file, no Rand Paul challenger has emerged after Democrats in his home state experienced big losses statewide last November. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Kentucky Democrats experienced a statewide political bloodbath in November – one that washed away the ambition of one rising star, state Auditor Adam Edelen, to challenge Sen. Rand Paul, the Republican leading a long-shot bid for the presidency, for re-election.

Since then, nobody has stepped forward. Following the announcement last week by veteran Andrew Horne that he would not challenge Paul, with only a week to go before the Jan. 26 filing deadline, most Democrats there are eyeing one man as a viable candidate to challenge him: Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

Gray – the second-term “nonpartisan” mayor of this Democrat-leaning metropolis in eastern-Kentucky  – confirmed to the Lexington Herald-Leader he was considering a run, but has not said more.

“I enjoy my job as mayor, and the only reason I would consider another office is I believe Washington is terribly broken and I could make a practical contribution by helping create jobs and economic opportunity for Kentuckians,” he told the paper.

Gray, the state’s first openly-gay mayor, has wealth from a family business he could spend on his own campaign if he were to run. And as a “non-partisan” mayor, he could have a case to make when trying to argue he could be an independent actor in Washington. In his official office, Gray has hired a number of ex-staffers to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who was easily re-elected in 2014.

As Democrats appeared to be holding their own ahead of elections last November in a state that has been trending red, there were quiet calls by some Republicans for Paul to drop his presidential bid over fears that he would be jeopardizing his Senate seat. But with their loss of the Governor’s Mansion to Republican Matt Bevin and the loss of all but two down ballot statewide races last November, that talk is no more.

And despite Paul’s weak performance in the presidential polls, dithering by Bluegrass State Democrats on selecting a candidate – along with no emergence of a formidable primary opponent – has given Paul no reason to hurry home to solidify his support.

With no formidable opponent back home, Paul has been showing up to work in the Senate for 94-percent of the votes while at the same time showing up in states with early presidential nominating contests. 

During last week’s main presidential debate, which Paul was not invited to due to his standing in the race, Paul chimed in from the outside in a series of posts online. He earned a great deal of media attention for pushing back against the Republican National Committee’s rules, but it isn’t clear what else he gained. 

One Democratic operative said if Gray was to run, the presidential campaign could be something he would use against Paul.

“Rand Paul’s doing us all the favors he can by complaining,” the Democrat said. “He’s reminding everybody in Kentucky he’s not been here being our Senator. The guy gets elected Senator and starts immediately running for president!”

Contact Yokley at eliyokley@rollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @eyokley.

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December 20, 2015

Races Where Spending Bill Vote Could Be an Issue

Neither the Republicans nor Democrats, whose Senate committee is led by Tester, above, see a clear political win from the omnibus vote.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Neither Republicans nor Democrats, whose Senate committee is led by Tester, see a clear political win from the omnibus vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress hadn’t even left town when political campaigns in some of the most competitive House and Senate races zeroed in on Friday’s vote on a massive government spending bill.

But rather than cleaving along partisan lines, Democrats and Republicans — incumbents and challengers alike — came down on both sides of the issue depending on their states and districts, suggesting national party committees aren’t likely to take up the vote in their national messaging. Full story

December 3, 2015

GOP Presidential Candidates Make Pitches to Influential Jewish Group

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03:  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center December 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. Candidates spoke and took questions from Jewish leaders and activists as they continued to seek for Republican presidential nomination.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Trump addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Thursday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Each of the 2016 White House hopefuls made their case to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Forum on Thursday why they’d be the strongest defender of America’s and Israel’s national security against the kind of violence seen in San Bernardino, Calif., Wednesday.

Nearly all of the candidates — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was detained by Senate votes and never made it — argued that the incident was an example of the terrorist threat facing America and Israel and proceeded to attack President Barack Obama for not readily using the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” 

Full story

November 20, 2015

Former Aides to Ron and Rand Paul Re-Indicted

Three former staffers to Ron Paul were indicted on conspiracy charges surrounding his 2012 presidential campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three former staffers to Ron Paul were indicted on conspiracy charges surrounding his 2012 presidential campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A trio of former aides to former Rep. Rand Paul, R-Texas, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul are not out of the woods yet on criminal charges related to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.

A grand jury in Des Moines, Iowa, re-indicted Jesse Benton, John Tate and Dimitri Kesari on conspiracy charges Thursday, according to The Associated Press. Benton was also issued a summons to appear in court on Dec. 2.

Full story

November 10, 2015

Ahead of Fourth Debate, Republican Confidence in Bush Falters

GOP.candidates.poll

Perhaps no one has as much riding on Tuesday’s GOP presidential debate as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, once the presumed front-runner, who has struggled to energize his campaign in recent weeks.

But ahead of the debate, the latest The Economist/YouGov poll shows the percentage of Republicans who think Bush could win the general election falling.

Full story

November 5, 2015

Coasting to Victory: D.C. Bar Handicapping Presidential Race

Coasters featuring political figures such as Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, center, are being offered at the Off the Record bar in the Hay Adams Hotel. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Coasters featuring political figures such as former Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, center, are being offered at the Off the Record bar in the Hay Adams Hotel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

No matter their standing in the latest polls, every White House hopeful is virtually guaranteed to soak up some attention at D.C.’s historic Off the Record bar.

The fabled watering hole, which is just a hop, skip and a jump (stumble?) from the Oval Office, intends to handicap the upcoming presidential race by keeping tabs on which signature drink coasters — the extra-long faces of many those vying to be commander-in-chief grace the limited-edition series — customers routinely snatch up before rolling home.

Full story

November 4, 2015

Kentucky Democrats Reassess Race Against Rand Paul

If his presidential bid is unsuccessful, Paul is expected to rung for re-election next year. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If his presidential bid is unsuccessful, Paul is expected to run for re-election next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Only one Democrat represents Kentucky in the House, and not since 1998 has the state been represented by one in the Senate. Still, the party thought it could run a competitive race for the Senate seat next year.

But after big losses in Tuesday’s elections, hopes for challenging Republicans in next year’s Senate race are suddenly dimmer.  Full story

October 29, 2015

Where Presidential Candidates Rank Among Richest Members of Congress (Video)

50 richest

Cruz, seen here announcing his presidential candidacy in March, has the highest minimum net worth of the five senators running for president. But even he doesn’t crack the list of the top 100 wealthiest members of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When it comes to personal wealth, the five senators running for president aren’t exactly rolling in cash — by congressional standards, that is.

Ted Cruz, the richest senator running for president, doesn’t even crack the top 100 on the Roll Call Wealth of Congress Index, an annual ranking of members by minimum net worth. The Texas Republican comes in at No. 141, with a minimum net worth of at least $1.8 million. Full story

October 22, 2015

Jesse Benton Acquitted in Campaign Fraud Case

A former aide to Paul was acquitted on charges that he lied to FBI agents. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

A former aide to Paul was acquitted on charges that he lied to FBI agents. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Jesse Benton, a longtime ally of Sen. Rand Paul, was acquitted Thursday on charges tied to a campaign fraud case surrounding former Rep. Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, according to the Des Moines Register.

Benton was caught up in a scandal, in which a former Iowa state senator admitted to taking $73,000 in payments from Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in exchange for switching his endorsement to Paul from then-Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Benton had served as Paul’s campaign chairman in 2012, but maintained his innocence in the ordeal.

Full story

October 9, 2015

Judge Drops Multiple Charges Against Jesse Benton

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 26:  Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, addresses a crowd of supporters at the University of South Florida Sun .Dome in Tampa, before the start of the Republican National Convention.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Paul addresses a crowd of supporters at the University of South Florida Sun Dome in Tampa, before the start of the 2012 Republican National Convention. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A federal judge in Iowa has tossed most of the charges against longtime Paul family advisers Jesse Benton and John Tate.

The case involves alleged misconduct in which associates of 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas were said to have made improper payments to Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson, who switched his endorsement from then-Paul rival Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Full story

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