FRANKFORT — Rand Paul is in but he says he’ll run as an outsider.
The self-described independent, conservative Republican is now “formally” a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Jim Bunning who has said he won’t seek re-election because he hasn’t been able to raise sufficient funds to mount an effective campaign.
Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist and son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul who ran unsuccessfully last year for the Republican nomination for president, made his announcement on a national Fox News broadcast Wednesday evening.
Also in the race on the Republican side are Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Elkton businessman and veteran Bill Johnson. Democrats seeking their party’s nomination are Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, Attorney General Jack Conway, Eastwood businessman Maurice Sweeney and former U.S. Customs Agent Darlene Fitzgerald Price.
In a conference call with reporters Thursday, Paul said his primary reason for running is his belief that “the federal debt is out of control (and) is consuming the country and we have to do something differently than we have in the past.”
He said he will vote against any unbalanced budget – whether proposed by Democrats or his own Republican Party.
“I don’t see the debt as a Democrat or Republican problem,” Paul said. “Both parties are unwilling to address the debt.”
The solution he said is “to mandate a rule such as a balanced budget amendment that will prevent politicians from spending money they don’t have.”
Paul thinks he can raise $2 million for an effective primary campaign and plans an Aug. 20, online “money bomb” solicitation with a goal of 10,000 contributors giving $100 each. That would produce $1 million in one day.
He said he has four fundraisers planned in Texas, three of which will be attended by his father who raised significant money online in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. They younger Paul said he may ask his father to come to Kentucky to campaign or help him raise money. But while his father’s notoriety may help his Senate campaign with national donors, the younger Paul said, “I’ll have to win on my own merits.”
He called Grayson a “career politician” whose “whole life has been in government.” And he said he’s more conservative than Grayson.
Paul said he would have voted against the financial bailouts and that position is in line with 90 percent of Republican primary voters. He said he’s interested to hear Grayson’s position on those bailouts.
Grayson’s campaign spokesman Kevin Broghamer said Grayson opposes the bailouts but declined to respond to other criticisms by Paul.
“Like most Kentucky Republicans, Trey Grayson does not know Dr. Paul,” Broghamer said. “Their first opportunity meet was this past weekend (at the Fancy Farm Picnic). Trey looks forward to getting to know him better on the campaign trail in the coming months.”
Paul discussed the philosophical and constitutional concepts of the America federal system, saying the central government has become too powerful and should be limited to “constitutionally enumerated” powers and others be left to the states. He said that would prevent federal mandates which must be paid for by the states.
He went so far as to say all of the country’s first 14 presidents except for Andrew Jackson and the founding fathers thought secession was a constitutional prerogative, calling the union a “voluntary compact between the states as it was originally formed.”.
But he said he’s not advocating secession but “something sort of in between which is the states still have the rights not enumerated (to the federal government) in the constitution.”
One clearly enumerated power, Paul said, is national defense and said the constitution requires a Congressional declaration of war before going to war. He said he “would have forced a vote on a declaration of war both in Afghanistan and in Iraq. I would have voted for a declaration of war in Afghanistan and I would’ve voted against a declaration of war in Iraq.”
He said the difference was Afghanistan harbored those who directly attacked the United States while Iraq represented no direct or immediate threat to the country.
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issue is federal debt for "outsider"
FRANKFORT — Rand Paul is in but he says he’ll run as an outsider.
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