Rand Paul Drops Out

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination.

Rand Paul

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination. POLITICO:

Rand Paul on Wednesday dropped out of the race for president, saying he will now focus on his reelection to the U.S. Senate.

“It’s been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign for the White House. Today, I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of Liberty,” Paul said in a statement.

“Across the country thousands upon thousands of young people flocked to our message of limited government, privacy, criminal justice reform and a reasonable foreign policy. Brushfires of Liberty were ignited, and those will carry on, as will I.”

Paul told senior staff about his decision on Monday. Other staff were notified Monday evening and the entire Paul campaign was told via a conference call Tuesday morning at about 8:45, according to a campaign source. In that call the Kentucky senator talked about smaller government, continuing his fight for “liberty” and the Fourth Amendment.

Paul, a freshman senator and the son of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, has a large libertarian following but failed to gain traction in the presidential race. He had become an increasingly marginal figure in the still-sprawling GOP field. He finished fifth in Iowa, with less than 5 percent of the vote, but was projected to do much worse in next week’s New Hampshire primary, with recent polls showing him in ninth place.

The Kentucky senator was also facing a dismal money situation, and ended the fourth quarter with $1.3 million in the bank for his presidential campaign. He raised roughly $2.1 million in the quarter, while spending $2.9 million. His super PACs ended the year with a little more than $4 million in cash on hand.

Paul’s poll numbers are better than those of Kasich, Fiorina, and Santorum but they all either have more money on hand or reason to think they’ll do better in New Hampshire or South Carolina. There was simply no reason for Paul to continue to accumulate debt given no plausible path to the nomination.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Randed. . . . . . . . . . . . :))

  2. Mu says:

    Proving again that libertarian rhetoric combined with “Christian conservative values” doesn’t mash anywhere but the South.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Actually the sanest person in the Republican field, but keep in mind that’s a low friggin’ bar.

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    This does not surprise me. It was becoming obvious that he had zero chance of getting the Republican nomination. In addition he was going to have a tougher Senate reelection contest than might be expected.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Paul’s campaign, like his fathers, was always destined to fail. The Repubs are largely white and old, and the libertarians are, well, the type of people who take libertarianism seriously. Those are the Pauls essential supporters and both show an astounding indifference to any amount of racism imaginable. The Paul’s long history of making significant significant personal money off of newsletters that trafficked in 1860’s level off racism just doesn’t register with those groups. But if either Paul had Become a real threat of reaching the general it would have absolutely blown them out of them out of the water.

    “Senator Paul, for two decades you made hundreds of thousands of dollars off of a newsletter bearing your family name and representing that it reflected your views. It trafficked in articles that questioned whether blacks were fully human and whether inter-marriage was diluting the species. Your defense is that you took the money but at no point in all that did you actually read the newsletter. How are the voters supposed to react to that?”I

  6. Franklin says:

    I liked having him around mostly because he disrupted the carpet-bombing circle jerk that is known as a Republican “debate”. They are all master debaters.

  7. James Pearce says:

    Rand’s got a very subtle ski-tan in that pic. Anyway…

    From a party perspective, this is a good thing. Rand can focus his attentions where he’s needed (in the Senate) and the pool of potential donors can put their money towards electing the Republican nominee rather than funding some pipe dream campaign.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    Rand Paul ended up talking out of both sides of his mouth to ever catch fire. If you’re going to be an idealist, then stick to your guns and don’t start eliding what your supposed stances are.

  9. Tillman says:

    Justice Sleeps Tonight.

  10. Gustopher says:

    No New Hampshire for him? Sad. New Hampshire is way more libertarian, and if Rand was going to do well anywhere, it would be there.

    Mostly, I wanted him to have concrete results showing he wouldn’t do well anywhere.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    Santorum also bails.

    (humming “Another One Bites The Dust”)

  12. Hal_10000 says:

    That’s a pity. Rand was the only one in the GOP field talking sense about criminal justice reform, war, surveillance and civil liberties. Assuming Clinton wins, we’re headed toward a hawk vs. hawk election.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Hal_10000: Blind squirrel.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: I should take the opportunity to point out that the Koch Bros have made a big push for criminal justice reform. However it’s surfaced that it’s a Trojan Horse to sneak in immunity for corporate malfeasance. The idea is to require proof of criminal intent, i.e. ignorance of the law IS an excuse. So as long as none of their faithful minions tell them in writing that the proposed plan is illegal, the Bros are free and clear. Clever actually. Shitty. But clever.