Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2010, term expires 2016, 1st term.

Born: January 7, 1963, Pittsburgh, PA

Home: Bowling Green

Education: Baylor U., attended 1981-84; Duke U., M.D. 1988.

Professional Career: Ophthalmologist, 1993-2010.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Presbyterian

Family: Married (Kelley) , 3 children

Republican Sen. Rand Paul, elected in 2010 as Kentucky’s junior senator, is the son of former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, a libertarian and a presidential candidate in 2008 and 2012. The younger Paul is poised to preside over his father’s devoted following among strict adherents of limited government, and is himself considering a presidential bid in 2016.

Paul was raised in Lake Jackson, Texas. He attended Baylor University, where he was an active member of the Young Conservatives of Texas. Although he failed to get an undergraduate degree at Baylor, Paul chose to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a doctor. He got a high score on the medical entrance exam and was admitted to Duke University, where he got his medical degree.

His schooling and residency finished, Paul moved to Bowling Green, Ky., near his wife’s home town, and opened an ophthalmology practice. Paul also established an eye clinic to treat low-income patients. He mulled entering politics for some time, writing newspaper columns, helping with his father’s campaigns, and founding an anti-tax watchdog group called Kentucky Taxpayers United. His father’s denunciation of the Federal Reserve and espousal of free market principles in the 2008 presidential campaign attracted a cult-like following and showed the potential of an unconventional candidate to raise large sums of money online. When Rand Paul gave a speech on April 15, 2009—Tax Day—to a tea party group, the energy of the crowd persuaded him that “something enormous was going on,” as he later told the Bowling Green Daily News. He decided to run for the Senate.

The seat was held by two-term Republican incumbent Jim Bunning, who had a solid conservative record but had been only barely reelected in 2004 and was being pressed by Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the powerful Senate Republican leader, not to run. In July 2009, Bunning announced he would retire, and the favorite for the Republican nomination was Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who had the backing of McConnell and much of the state GOP establishment. But Paul had his father’s name and access to his network of contributors. His backers eagerly embraced his outspoken views that government should stick to the functions outlined in the Constitution, that agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Education Department should be abolished, and that the powers of the Federal Reserve should be drastically curbed.

McConnell appeared in television ads for Grayson, and Grayson ran spots charging Paul was weak on national security. But Paul ended up winning the primary in a rout, 59%-35%, carrying 109 of 120 counties. McConnell made a point of appearing at a victory rally for Paul and complimenting his campaign. Paul, who had previously declined to say whether he would vote for McConnell for Senate minority leader, decided he would. On the Democratic side, the primary was much closer: Attorney General Jack Conway beat Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo by 44%-43%.

Paul’s decisive upset was quickly overshadowed by an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. He indicated his opposition in principle to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, arguing that the federal government shouldn’t interfere with private businesses. The remarks caused a furor, even after Paul issued a statement saying he did not support repealing the landmark law barring discrimination against minority groups. After that, he limited his media appearances. His Democratic opponent, Conway, hammered him for that and other public statements, such as a claim that imposing a $2,000 deductible on Medicare beneficiaries would solve the financial problems of the behemoth government medical insurance program. Paul said that the idea was just an option under consideration and that he did not endorse it.

Conway seized on Paul’s support for raising the Social Security retirement age and opposing federal involvement in drug enforcement. Paul had plenty of material to work with, however, in his attempt to paint Conway as too liberal. Conway supported abortion rights, the Democrats’ health care bill, repeal of the ban on open gays in the military, and a pro-union bill effectively abolishing the secret ballot in unionization elections. Conway may also have hurt himself with an ad that political operatives considered over the top. In the ad, the narrator says, “Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible a ‘hoax’?...Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up, tell her to bow down before a false idol, and say ... god was Aqua Buddha?” The charges mostly referred to pranks during Paul’s college years. GQ magazine had reported that Paul once belonged to a secret society called the NoZe Brotherhood, which often taunted the school’s administration; he and a friend were once accused of blindfolding a female acquaintance and trying to get her to smoke marijuana.

Paul won 56%-44%. He did not carry Louisville’s Jefferson County or Lexington’s Fayette County, but ran strongly in the Northern Kentucky counties across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

His victory was counted as one of the major triumphs for the tea party movement, and as soon as he got to Washington, Paul established a Tea Party Caucus in the Senate. And he showed no sign of giving up his penchant for sending up rhetorical flares. In May 2011, Paul accused President Barack Obama of trying to block Boeing from creating jobs in the South, saying he suspected Obama kept an “enemies list.”

With his civil libertarian inclinations, Paul also tried to block the extension of the USA PATRIOT Act in May 2011, despite the fact that the law is popular with most conservatives. Paul offered an amendment that would restrict the government’s power to obtain gun records, but the measure was defeated, 85-10, and the PATRIOT Act was extended. During a November 2011 debate over a defense authorization bill, Paul was a vocal opponent of a provision that would allow the military to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely.

Paul offered a large number of bills for a freshman, and he was perfectly willing to use his power to block anything he viewed as government overreach. He proposed an amendment in November 2011 that would have blocked an Obama administration rule aimed at limiting pollution from power plants, but Paul’s measure was voted down and opposed by six Republicans. In September 2011, he stopped a bill to strengthen safety regulations for oil and gas pipelines in the wake of a deadly gas pipeline rupture near San Francisco in 2010. The pipeline safety bill was broadly popular and even supported by pipeline trade associations and the natural gas industry. Paul later dropped his hold on the bill, it passed the Senate, and was eventually signed into law.

When the budget blueprint from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which included his controversial plan to revamp Medicare, came to a vote in the Senate in May 2011, Paul was one of five Republicans who joined Democrats in successfully voting it down. The other GOP senators were all moderates who opposed Ryan’s plan because of its deep cuts to Medicare. Paul opposed it because its spending cuts overall didn’t go far enough.

Paul made national news in January 2012 when he refused a pat-down from the Transportation Security Administration at an airport in Nashville, Tenn. Five months later, he wanted to relax tough gun control laws made by the District of Columbia in exchange for giving the city more budget autonomy, leading Democrats to ridicule him for hypocrisy, given his government hands-off philosophy. The following year, he was one of the loudest objectors to Obama’s proposed anti-gun violence proposals unveiled after the December 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Conn. “I’m afraid that President Obama may have this ‘king complex’ sort of developing,” he said.

He also got under the skin of some fellow Republicans. GOP hawks grumbled about his assertion at the Republican National Convention that the party should “acknowledge that not every dollar spent on the military is necessary or well spent.” He forced a Senate vote in September on his proposal to limit aid to Pakistan, Libya, and Egypt. But Republicans John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina forcefully opposed it, saying that it could limit aid to Israel and other countries, and it was resoundingly rejected, 81-10.

By year’s end, with few of his ideas having gained traction, Paul began talking about reshaping his agenda. To try to broaden Republican support among Latinos, he discussed a plan to enable the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants to seek legal status while it also clamped down on immigration in the interim. To motivate younger voters, he pledged to work with Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession. But in the early months of the 113th Congress (2013-14), he remained combative. In protest of administration’s use of lethal drone strikes, he talked on the Senate floor for 12 hours and 52 minutes in March 2013. His stunt, in which he received help from several Republicans, forced a delay in the expected confirmation of John Brennan to head the CIA.

By mid-July 2014, polls showed Paul atop the would-be GOP presidential field. He built a strong network of supporters in key primary states, and reached out to corporate giants on both Wall Street and in Silicon Valley who previously had financially backed George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. At the same time, he sought to reach out to younger voters as well as minorities. He appeared at the National Urban League conference in July 2014 and pronounced his unequivocal support for the Civil Rights Act; earlier he told a student audience in traditionally liberal Berkeley, Calif., that the intelligence community was "drunk with power."

But his efforts hit a few well-publicized bumps. His hands-off stance on Iraq's civil war led Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another potential 2016 aspirant, to write a Washington Post op-ed column headlined "Why Rand Paul Is Wrong on Iraq." Paul fired back with his own op-ed calling Perry's assertions "a fictionalized account of my foreign policy." Similarly, Paul's old hawkish nemesis McCain charged that Paul's reluctance to back a U.S. intervention was a step toward a "fortress America."

To combat any perception that he does not sufficiently support Israel, Paul introduced a bill barring the Palestinian government from receiving any foreign aid unless it recognized Israel as a state. A libertarian Capitol Hill staffer described the measure to The New York Times Magazine as "complete pandering." Influential talk-show host Bill O'Reilly noted his prior calls for cutting foreign aid for Israel and charged, "It looks like Senator Paul is not being upfront." A spokesman for Paul said the senator never specifically targeted Israel in his calls to cut foreign aid and maintained: "Sen. Paul's position was exactly what Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu said to Congress on July 10, 1996 and May 24, 2011—Israel will be better off when it does not have to count on anyone else for its protection."

Paul also was ridiculed within the Democratic blogosphere as well as on comedy shows when, during an August tour of Iowa, he was captured on video leaving a restaurant table in mid-mouthful after an angry immigration activist approached him. Satirist Stephen Colbert dubbed the maneuver "the Rand Paul-eo Diet." Paul said in response he had no time for what he called a "kamikaze interview," but the incident raised questions even among some Republicans about whether it reinforced their party's political weaknesses among Hispanics.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-4343

(202) 228-6917

RSOB- Russell Senate Office Building Room 167
Washington, DC 20510-1704

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-4343

(202) 228-6917

RSOB- Russell Senate Office Building Room 167
Washington, DC 20510-1704

DISTRICT OFFICE

(270) 782-8303

(270) 782-8315

1029 State Street
Bowling Green, KY 42101

DISTRICT OFFICE

(270) 782-8303

(270) 782-8315

1029 State Street
Bowling Green, KY 42101

DISTRICT OFFICE

(859) 426-0165

541 Buttermilk Pike Suite 102
Crescent Springs, KY 41017

DISTRICT OFFICE

(859) 426-0165

541 Buttermilk Pike Suite 102
Crescent Springs, KY 41017

DISTRICT OFFICE

(270) 885-1212

1100 South Main Street Suite 12
Hopkinsville, KY 42240

DISTRICT OFFICE

(270) 885-1212

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Hopkinsville, KY 42240

DISTRICT OFFICE

(859) 219-2239

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Lexington, KY 40503

DISTRICT OFFICE

(859) 219-2239

771 Corporate Drive Suite 105
Lexington, KY 40503

DISTRICT OFFICE

(502) 582-5341

600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Place Room 1072B
Louisville, KY 40202

DISTRICT OFFICE

(502) 582-5341

600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Place Room 1072B
Louisville, KY 40202

DISTRICT OFFICE

(270) 689-9085

423 Federica Street Suite 305
Owensboro, KY 42301

DISTRICT OFFICE

(270) 689-9085

423 Federica Street Suite 305
Owensboro, KY 42301

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 72928
Newport, KY 41072

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 72928
Newport, KY 41072

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 72928
Newport, KY 41072

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

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Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Agriculture

Natalie Burkhalter
Legislative Assistant

Carolyn Moffa
Legislative Aide

Animal Rights

Carolyn Moffa
Legislative Aide

Appropriations

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Banking

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Budget

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Disaster

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Education

Natalie Burkhalter
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Paige Agostin
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Paige Agostin
Legislative Assistant

Carolyn Moffa
Legislative Aide

Finance

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Govt Ops

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Health

Natalie Burkhalter
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Housing

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Human Rights

Immigration

Intelligence

Brandon Brooker
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Labor

Natalie Burkhalter
Legislative Assistant

Land Use

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Logistics

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Medicare

Natalie Burkhalter
Legislative Assistant

Military

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Seniors

Natalie Burkhalter
Legislative Assistant

Small Business

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Social Security

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Tax

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Technology

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Telecommunications

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Trade

Kathee Facchiano
Legislative Director

Transportation

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Veterans

Brett King
Professional Staff Member

Election Results

2010 GENERAL
Rand Paul
Votes: 755,411
Percent: 55.69%
Jack Conway
Votes: 599,843
Percent: 44.22%
2010 PRIMARY
Rand Paul
Votes: 206,986
Percent: 58.76%
C. M. "Trey" Grayson
Votes: 124,864
Percent: 35.45%

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