Rand Paul is going for it in 2016.

The Kentucky senator and son of libertarian fan favorite Ron Paul announced Tuesday morning on his new website that he is joining the GOP’s roster of contenders for the White House, which so far officially includes his colleague, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

And true to form, Paul is quickly working to set himself apart from his conservative cohort by billing himself as “a different kind of Republican” — one who might, for example, appeal to younger voters.

But how different is he, really? The New York Times summed him up thusly that morning:

Mr. Paul’s brand of politics could make him both an outlier and a target among his rivals. In a primary contest of candidates debating which of them is the most doctrinaire conservative, Mr. Paul is likely to be the only one arguing for reducing federal drug penalties, clamping down on the nation’s intelligence agencies and taking a more deliberative approach to military intervention.

On social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, however, he does not stray from the Republican Party line.

… While Mr. Paul’s political résumé may be short — he entered politics with the emergence of the Tea Party movement, winning election to the Senate in 2010, in his first run for office — he has built over the past year and a half what Republican strategists say are some of the most extensive political operations in the states that will vote first in the party’s nominating process: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Much of the backbone for that political operation will come from the voters and volunteers who gave his father, former Representative Ron Paul of Texas, a base of energetic support in his own unsuccessful bids for the presidency in 2008 and 2012.

But Mr. Paul has made it clear in his appeals over the past two years to constituencies as varied as students at black colleges, tech executives, movement libertarians and establishment Republicans that his intention is to seek out a far wider path to the nomination than his father did.

Paul’s move to cast himself as an outsider with the power to shake things up on Capitol Hill, a strategy that worked well for his dad, is apparent in a campaign slogan featured on his site: “Stand With Rand: Defeat the Washington Machine.”

As April progresses, the field of presidential hopefuls is sure to become more populated. Other prominent GOP players expected to join Paul and Cruz soon in the Republican lineup are Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson


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