Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment Masks and vaccines: What price freedom? MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday announced he will run for reelection to the Senate, but his campaign team cautioned an announcement about his White House plans is still “months away.”
“I ran for office because, like many Kentuckians, I was alarmed at the problems facing our country: a stagnant and uneven economy, a growing national debt, out-of-control federal spending, a disastrous health care plan, the assault on our civil rights and liberties, and a misguided foreign policy," Paul said in a statement.
Paul’s campaign team is adamant that his primary focus is on returning to Congress, not on a presidential bid just yet.
On a conference call with reporters, Paul’s senior adviser Doug Stafford said a decision on whether to run for president is still “months away.” Stafford said Paul doesn’t have a hard date on when he’ll announce his presidential plans, but said it would likely take place sometime in the spring.
Running for both offices could pose problems for Paul.
Kentucky law bars a candidate from appearing on the same ballot for multiple offices.
Paul has noted that one option to get around the law would be for Kentucky Republicans to hold a convention instead of a primary, and Stafford said on Tuesday that there are discussions within GOP circles in Kentucky about making that change.
“Kentucky state law provides for the opportunity to hold whatever kind of process you want to hold,” Stafford said.
Paul could also simply not run in the Kentucky presidential primary, or challenge the law in court. Stafford said Paul’s team hasn’t “abandoned any options” but also hasn’t “settled on any options” yet.
“If he chooses to run for national office there are multiples avenues for how he can do that,” Stafford said. “For now he’s 100 percent focused on running for Senate in Kentucky.”
But for now, Paul is going about his in-state plans as normal.
Paul rolled out an endorsement from incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday as well for his Senate reelection. McConnell supported Paul's opponent in the 2010 GOP primary, Trey Grayson, but has since become more of an ally to Paul.
”Rand has been an irreplaceable partner in fighting for Kentucky priorities and Kentucky values," McConnell said in a statement. "His innovative mind for conservative reforms that create jobs and get the economy working again is essential in the U.S. Senate as we seek to reverse Obama policies that have hurt Kentucky families."
Paul also has the support of every other member of the state’s GOP congressional delegation
Still, Paul’s presidential ambitions loom large. Reporters questioned the low-profile nature of Paul’s Senate announcement, and noted that Paul was in Washington, not Kentucky, for the rollout.
“He’s here in Washington doing his job,” Stafford said, noting that Paul was in Kentucky over Thanksgiving break spending time with constituents.
“He’s happy [with his current job] and proud to seek reelection,” Stafford said.
This post was updated at 12:57 p.m.