Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Friday that he would seek reelection in 2016, even as he’s widely seen as having interest in a presidential run that year.
Paul informed reporters of his decision before a local GOP dinner, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
The first-term senator did not rule out a presidential bid in 2016, but said that, for now, he is only certain about running for another Senate term.
"For now, we know for sure is we're going to run for the U.S. Senate," Paul said at the Woodford County, Ky., Republican Party Reagan Dinner, according to The Daily Independent in Ashland, Ky. "The other decision can come later."
Paul has been thought to be a surefire candidate for the GOP nomination in 2016, when President Obama will be term-limited and Republicans will be looking to recapture the White House for the first time since 2008.
Paul has done little to tamp down the speculation.
His comments Friday come after Paul has made a string of visits to early primary or caucus states this year, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Under Kentucky law, Paul couldn’t run for both the Senate and president on the same ballot, but state lawmakers reportedly are examining whether to make changes to that law. The Kentucky senator could also just decide not to place his name on the presidential primary ballot in his home state.
According to a poll released Friday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would hold an early advantage over Paul and other top Republican presidential candidates in hypothetical 2016 match-ups in the critical swing state of Iowa.
The Quinnipiac University survey shows that Clinton would defeat Paul (R-Ky.) 46-42 percent among Iowa voters and best Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) 48-37 percent.
Vice President Biden doesn't fare as well, trailing Paul 44-39 percent and Rubio 40-39 percent.