Paul: 'I’ve done my job as your senator' despite 2016 bid
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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump isolated amid Syria furor | Pompeo, Pence to visit Turkey in push for ceasefire | Turkish troops advance in Syria | Graham throws support behind Trump's sanctions Rand Paul rips Lindsey Graham: 'Wrong about almost every foreign policy decision' MORE is defending running for Senate and the Republican presidential nomination simultaneously, suggesting that unlike other candidates, he hasn't let his 2016 bid have an impact on his Senate duties.

"I’m running for president and have been for nearly a year. And I’ve done my job as your senator every step of the way," the Kentucky Republican wrote in a Lexington Herald-Leader op-ed. "While others simply abandoned their jobs to run, I did mine, working all week in the Senate and campaigning largely on weekends."


Paul is struggling to break out of crowded Republican presidential pack. Fox Business Network announced Monday that Paul didn't qualify for the main stage during Thursday's debate, and he has said he will abstain from the undercard bout.

As Paul defends his Senate record, he also frequently criticizes Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Warren turns up heat in battle with Facebook | Instagram unveils new data privacy feature | Advocacy group seeks funding to write about Big Tech TikTok adds former lawmakers to help develop content moderation policies This week: Congress returns to chaotic Washington MORE (R-Fla.) for missing Senate votes to campaign for president, going so far as to say that he should give back his government salary or resign.

Rubio missed 36 percent of roll call votes over the past year, and Paul missed 6 percent, according to the website GovTrack. During the same time period, senators on average missed 1 percent of votes. Rubio is stepping down from Congress at the end of his current term.

Paul added that regardless of which party wins the White House, Republicans must keep control of the Senate. Paul's seat is one of 24 that Republicans have to defend in November. 

"As others look at running for Senate against me, I want to remind them, and you, that I have done my job well," he wrote. "If you want your rights to be in the hands of people who believe in Kentucky values you need a Republican Senate. It’s really as simple as that."

The Republican Party of Kentucky announced last year that it was switching its presidential primary elections to a caucus format, which would allow Paul to run for two offices at the same time. Absentee voting for the caucuses started late last week.