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Rand Paul is a Republican United States Senator from Kentucky with conservative-libertarian view points, and the son of former Congressman and regular presidential candidate Ron Paul. An eye doctor by trade, Paul has been married to his wife, Kelly, since 1990 and together they have three sons. While Paul has limited political history, he was a frequent campaigner for his father and also the founder of a pro-taxpayer group in Kentucky, Kentucky Taxpayers United.
Rand Paul has a very limited political history and did not make a run for political office until 2010. Although he started as a double-digit underdog to Trey Grayson in the GOP primary, Paul took advantage of the anti-establishment sentiment within the Republican Party and was one of many long-shot outsiders to oust GOP-backed candidates. With the backing of the tea party, Paul went on to defeat Grayson 59-35%. Democrats believed they had a decent chance in the general election against Paul due to his lack of political experience. They party picked the fairly popular state Attorney General, Jack Conway. Though Conway led in early polling, Paul went on to win by a fairly comfortable 12 points. Paul was backed by most conservatives and tea party groups, including Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin.
Rand Paul is a conservative-libertarian who is ideologically-aligned with his father, Ron Paul, on most issues. Paul is staunchly in favor of state's rights on most issues and he believes that the federal government should only legislate where it is constitutionally authorized to do so. He believes "hot-button" issues such as gay marriage and marijuana legalization should be up for each state to decide, which also seems to be an emerging opinion within the conservative movement. Paul has also been a major figure in minority outreach and a major proponent of criminal justice reform.
Rand Paul is pro-life, which is perhaps where he deviates most from the larger libertarian movement. He opposes federal funding of almost everything, including abortion, education, healthcare and other extra-constitutional issues that are meant to be handled by each individual state. The main area of concern for conservatives regarding Paul is on foreign policy. While Paul is clearly on the less interventionist and less activist scale of foreign policy, he is not quite the extremist his father was on the issue. He is strongly opposed to NSA spying programs.
2016 Presidential Run:
Picking up where his father left off, Rand Paul announced a run for the 2016 GOP nomination for President. While he started off with decent numbers, his popularity took a dip as he suffered a handful of poor debate performances. While his father often occupied the wild outcast role in presidential elections, Rand Paul's more measured approach actually seems to have hurt him. The anti-establishment crowd drifted away from the Ron Paul/Rand Paul side and over to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, both who have out-maneuvered Paul. His foreign policy views have also become a liability as the Republican Party has shifted back to a more hawkish stance following the off-hands approach of the Obama White House. This has led to the occasional back-and-forth between Paul and fellow contender Marco Rubio, who has typically came out for the better.
Financially, the Paul campaign has struggled and it has remained in the bottom rung of candidates. His polling has also lagged, and he has constantly struggled to remain above the debate threshold. Some Republicans have called for Paul to give up on the race and instead focus on his 2016 Senate run as they fear he is wasting valuable resources while damaging his personal popularity.