No surprise in these quarters that Sen. Rand Paul is contemplating a run for president. During the 2010 campaign, he made it clear that he wanted to be a national leader to represent Tea Party concerns. Yet, when I asked him about running for president last May, he demurred - saying he hadn't even won dogcatcher yet.
Paul's prospective candidacy is stirring political coverage near and far:
Whatever the case, the younger Paul said it is likely that either he or his father will seek the Republican presidential nomination.
“I think there will be one on the ballot,” he said. “I think there is a good chance of that.”
While announcing for president just months after being elected to a first term in the Senate would once have seemed unrealistic, some say President Barack Obama’s election just four years after winning a Senate race has changed the rules.
"Ron's time frame is the next month or two, nothing specific," said Jesse Benton, an adviser to both Pauls. "Rand won't make any contemplations until Ron has made his decision."
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement Thursday that she may launch an exploratory committee for president and Republican Sen. Rand Paul's suggestion he is mulling a bid are signs the movement that began two years ago is quickly moving onto the presidential stage.
Tea Party groups across the country demonstrated their effectiveness last fall by helping Republicans recapture the House and grow their numbers in the Senate. However, the various Tea Party groups that pride themselves on having a loose affiliation with each other and no central leader have yet to show whether they can rally behind one candidate to win a national election.
"Never happen," said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the Cook Political Report. "That doesn't mean in individual states they will not be a force."
While he raised impressive amounts of online money for his Senate bid, Paul does not have Bachmann’s eyepopping fundraising prowess or large national network of supporters. And, while his father has impressive national name ID, it’s unclear how well-known Paul the younger is outside of tea party and Republican circles.
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty will join Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul during a speak event in Iowa in coming month.
Mr. Pawlenty and Mr. Paul will be keynote speakers at an April event by the Iowa Federation of College Republicans.