Apr 8, 2015 3:42 AM

Rand Paul starts WH campaign with visit to New Hampshire

The Associated Press

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) Republican Sen. Rand Paul is set to spend his first full day as a presidential candidate meeting with voters in New Hampshire.

Paul is scheduled to speak at a rally in Milford, New Hampshire, on Wednesday afternoon, one day after he announced he was in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. As he arrived in the state late Tuesday, he made an unannounced stop for about 10 minutes at a Manchester bar that is popular among tea party activists.

During the brief stop, he walked through Murphy's Taproom, shaking hands with voters but declining to make any formal public remarks. Those were reserved for Wednesday on the town square in Milford and were expected to echo the combative themes he hammered as he entered the race on Tuesday.

Paul, a tea party favorite, on Tuesday challenged both to Washington and his fellow Republicans to "take our country back." In his announcement speech, he needled Republicans and Democrats alike.

"If we nominate a candidate who is simply Democrat Lite, what's the point?" Paul asked.

Paul's fiery message, delivered in his home state of Kentucky before he flew to four early-nominating states, was designed to broaden his appeal outside of the typical GOP coalition as well as motivate supporters of his father's two unsuccessful bids for the Republican presidential nomination.

In New Hampshire primaries, former Rep. Ron Paul captured 8 percent of the primary vote in 2008 and 23 percent in 2012. Rand Paul's late-Tuesday stop at the Manchester bar was a nod to what was the informal headquarters of his father's presidential campaign in 2012.

Rand Paul's advisers have been busy building a political machine of their own. Veteran political operative Mike Biundo, who led former Sen. Rick Santorum's presidential bid in 2012, is organizing operations for Paul in New England.

On Thursday, Paul heads to South Carolina, which has the first presidential primary in the South. He goes Friday to Iowa and to Nevada on Saturday.


Ronayne reported from Manchester.


Follow Philip Elliott on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/philip_elliott.


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