Rand Paul, Coburn hint at backing former staffer in House primary

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), two Tea Party favorites, suggested Tuesday that they might back Evan Feinberg, who is running against Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) in the GOP primary.

Paul had high praise for Feinberg, who served as an aide to both senators.

"I think he’s a very smart young man and we haven’t made a final decision whether we’re going to actually be actively involved in the campaign but I do wish him luck and I think he'd be a great congressman," Paul told The Hill. When asked about what he thought of Murphy, Paul declined to comment.

Coburn suggested that he would get involved in the race. "I'll have an announcement after the first of the year on that," he said. When asked about Murphy he said "I don't know him well enough."

Coburn also implied he might jump into the Pennsylvania contest when he mentioned Rep. Scott Garrett's (R-N.J.) challenges to then-Rep. Marge Roukema (R-N.J.) in 1998 and 2000. Roukema held on those years but retired rather than facing him again in 2002, which conservatives counted as a win.

"I do have a habit of getting involved," he said. "When I think we can improve then I get involved. When I don’t think we can then I don’t."

This story was updated to correctly reflect the timeline of Garrett's challenges to Roukema.