Nov 12, 2014 9:35 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
WASHINGTON - Rand Paul made it clear.
He's running for re-election to the Senate in 2016.
As for that other election in 2016, Paul reiterated Wednesday to a gathering of his top political advisers that he'll decide sometime in the spring whether or not he runs for the White House.
The Republican senator from Kentucky met behind closed doors at a Washington DC hotel with his team, which included some of his top political advisers based in the nation's capital, the Bluegrass State and such crucial primary and caucus states as New Hampshire and Iowa.
Some of those attending the meetings told NH1 that "Team Rand had a very successful day of meetings which focused on fundraising performance, grassroots engagement, communications, outreach and other areas of interest."
They added that the senator attended most of the meetings, including a dinner in the evening. Doug Stafford, the executive director of RANDPAC, led the various sessions, which some of those attending said "focused on what has been accomplished in the past year," as well as outlining a roadmap to what 2015 should be like.
Paul crisscrossed the campaign trail the past couple of months, in support of fellow Republicans who were running in last week's midterm elections. Paul visited New Hampshire twice in the past two months, headlining a GOP unity breakfast right after the New Hampshire primary, and last month he made multiple stops during a single day, stumping for Scott Brown and Walt Havenstein.
In an interview with NH1 at the state party headquarters in Concord, Paul said "I've spent the last year traveling the country trying to figure out ways to make the Republican message big enough that we can win national elections again. I'm going to continue doing that for about six more months and sometime in the spring I'll make the final decision on whether I'll run for the nomination."
Asked what will be his deciding factors in making a decision on whether to run for the White House, Paul said "some of it is how the message is resonating. If it's resonating and popular and I think there's a chance that that message can win the nomination, that's a big factor. Family's a big factor. We've gotten to the age where good legitimate reporters talk to the candidate but there are people out there who crawl through your trash, harass your kids, and so we are concerned about our family and our privacy."
If the senator decides to run, he starts with a leg up in New Hampshire, thanks to the support of those libertarian minded voters who backed his father in the 2012 cycle. In his third run for the White House, then-Rep. Ron Paul of Texas came in second in the Granite State primary, grabbing 23% of the vote.
According to exit polls from last Tuesday's election, 21% of New Hampshire Republicans say Paul's their choice right now for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Paul's in second place, one percentage point behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and six points ahead of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Paul's said for quite some time that he plans to run for a second term in the Senate, as well as a possible presidential bid. While many other candidates have done likewise (most recently then Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware in the 2008 cycle), Kentucky law prevents candidates from appearing on the same ballot for two separate offices.
Attempts to change the law stalled in the Democratic controlled Kentucky state House. And the GOP failed to retake the chamber in last week's elections.
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