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Politics / CAMPAIGN 2012

Paul Likely to Sit Out Senate Race

Texas lawmaker says he'd rather run for Barack Obama's seat than Kay Bailey Hutchison's.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., seen here with his dad, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, won't be getting any paternal supervision in the Senate.(AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

photo of Lindsey Boerma
January 20, 2011

It looks like the “Ron Paul revolution” won’t be hitting the Senate floor after all.

Despite reports that the Texas congressman is eying the Senate seat that will be opening up with the retirement of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, Paul told National Journal today that a presidential bid is still a more viable option for 2012.

A Senate run “only crosses my mind because people ask me about it,” said Paul, whose son and fellow Republican, Rand Paul, was sworn in as Kentucky's junor senator earlier this month. “I don’t think it’s a real possibility.”

 

Paul said the Senate buzz amplified Wednesday when the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling released poll results that showed him in second place for Hutchison’s seat among Republican primary voters, just 2 percentage points behind Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

But, as the release notes, “a host of candidates [are] furiously putting together staffs and campaign plans to enter what should be a crowded field” in the Senate race. Paul said an obvious marker of his disinterest is that he “[hasn’t] even thought about” putting a staff together.

“Right now I’ve been concentrating on dealing with my new subcommittee,” he said, referring to his recent appointment as chair of a House panel on domestic monetary policy. That role could determine whether he runs for the White House again. Paul has run for president twice: In 1988, he was the Libertarian nominee, and in 2008, he ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination but gained an impassioned following for his libertarian views and winsome debate style. 

In September, Paul said a presidential bid hinged largely on “the fall of the U.S. dollar.” Now, he says, he's waiting to see whether the strength of the nation's currency improves before deciding whether to run.

And when does he expect to make an announcement?

“Whenever I have to,” he laughed.

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