Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioTop Dem: Don’t bring Tillerson floor vote if he doesn’t pass committee Booker to vote against Tillerson Rubio wades into Trump-Lewis feud MORE (R-Fla.) and the heads of the National Republican Senatorial Committee joined Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump team prepares dramatic cuts Paul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy GOP senators introducing ObamaCare replacement Monday MORE (R-Ky.) in his filibuster against confirming John Brennan to head the Central Intelligence Agency, a move that could have political benefits for all involved.
Many have speculated that is partly aimed at ensuring there's no daylight between the two in case they both decide to run for president in 2016, giving Rubio equal claim to the Tea Party mantle.
It also gives the Florida Republican another line of attack on President Obama — this time on foreign policy, an area he's increasingly focused on since he joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The involvement of Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzCaitlyn Jenner to attend Trump inauguration: report Trump’s UN pick threads needle on Russia, NATO Haley slams United Nations, echoing Trump MORE (R-Texas) in the filibuster, and later of NRSC Chairman Jerry MoranJerry MoranOvernight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs Senate rejects Paul's balanced budget Republicans add three to Banking Committee MORE (R-Kansas), gives the two another chance to attack Obama as well. It also allows Moran to bolster his conservative credentials. Cruz serves as vice chairman of the NRSC, along with Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanSenators introduce dueling miners bills Schumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal Trump, House GOP could clash over 'Buy America' MORE (R-Ohio).
Cruz is no surprise. He has a strong constitutionalist Tea Party streak, and he was the second to join Paul, after fellow Tea Party Sen. Mike LeeMike LeePaul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy Right renews push for term limits as Trump takes power Conservatives press Trump on Supreme Court pick MORE (R-Utah). But Moran, who is viewed as more of an establishment conservative, needs to build trust with the Tea Party as he tries to guide the NRSC's involvement in potentially contentious primaries.
Tea Party groups are already rallying to the cause. The conservative group FreedomWorks issued a statement Wednesday afternoon calling for other senators to "Stand with Rand."
The NRSC also tweeted support of the filibuster, asking followers to "stand with us.
Paul is fighting the nomination because of Brennan's hand in the drone program and the Obama administration's refusal to completely rule out drone strikes on U.S. civilians on American soil. The fight has inflamed civil libertarians in both parties, including elements of the Tea Party.
Paul promised during the filibuster to continue it for "as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court."
The support of other Republicans has the potential to boost Paul's political standing.
One of his biggest political hurdles, should he run for the presidency, is appealing to mainstream conservatives wary of his libertarian foreign policy streak. The backing of his Senate Tea Party compatriots (and others) on this high-profile filibuster could help him do just that.
Others involved, like Lee, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and retiring Sen. Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (R-Ga.), and Sen. Ron WydenRon WydenManning commutation sparks Democratic criticism Senate Finance panel to hold Price hearing next week Overnight Finance: Price puts stock trading law in spotlight | Lingering questions on Trump biz plan | Sanders, Education pick tangle over college costs MORE (D-Ore.), the lone Democrat involved, seem to have little obvious political motivation for joining Paul.
Toomey is another Tea Party favorite, while Wyden has been a strong critic of the drone program that Brennan has helped develop.