Today, Tuesday, April 7, 2015, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is set to formally announce his Presidential campaign around 11:30 am from the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Since he became a Senator in the 2010 mid-term election Tea Party takeover, Paul has tirelessly worked with members of both parties on important issues like criminal justice reform, decriminalization of marijuana, fighting the surveillance abuse at the NSA, staunchly defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and much more.
When he isn’t sponsoring legislation or filibustering the use of drones on American citizens, Sen. Paul often focuses on minority outreach and expanding the GOP which will undoubtedly help him should he win the Republican nomination. In an interview with Megyn Kelly responding to Ted Cruz’s campaign announcement on March 23rd, Paul explained, “I’m able to take the message of liberty and of the Bill of Rights, and take it to Howard University, to the Urban League, the NAACP, to Ferguson, to Berkley, and try to bring new people into the party.”
This quality in a candidate is both exciting for Republicans and intimidating for Democrats. Like the Kentucky Senator explained, he doesn’t shy away from topics or areas that are mostly ignored by the GOP. Last fall, TV host and Civil Rights activist Al Sharpton talked with POLITICO on the threat that Paul poses to the Democratic Party.
“What I think is more dangerous for Democrats is, if a guy like Paul is out there, if he becomes the nominee, for argument’s sake, he … does not generate a turnout against him” among African Americans, Sharpton said. He added, “If he’s able to neutralize his past image on civil rights, if he becomes the candidate … and if you don’t get a huge black turnout saying ‘We’re afraid [of him],’” that could be a pitfall for Democrats.
Now that he’s [working] with Booker, going to Ferguson, having breakfast with Al Sharpton … he is beginning to demonstrate some very open, very consistent patterns of trying to broaden the framework of a potential candidacy,” Sharpton said. “I think he knows it’s unlikely someone like Al Sharpton would endorse him, but I can’t ignore him. He’s openly dealing with issues that [politicians] including people in the Democratic Party, haven’t done.”
While many Republicans give the cold shoulder to Sen. Paul because of his relation to Libertarian icon former Congressman Ron Paul, he has undeniably worked hard to pave his own path and come out of the shadow of his father. The Senators efforts appear to be working. Although he is merely a first term Senator, Paul has held his own in recent 2016 polling usually placing within the top three. Likewise, Sen. Paul has also won the CPAC Presidential Straw Poll for the last three years in a row.
Along with the announcement of his candidacy, Paul is expected to announce the formal endorsements of Reps. Thomas Massie, Justin Amash, Raul Labrador, and Mark Sanford later this week.
Follow Julia Porterfield on Twitter at @JK_Porterfield.