Rand Paul Preparing An Out On 2016 Run?

U.S. Senate Members Hold Inaugural Tea Party Caucus Meeting

While his name has been among the top tier when discussions about candidates for the 2016 Presidential nomination and he’s spent a lot of time over the past year traveling to such places as Iowa and South Carolina to speak, Rand Paul has played his cards close to his vest and not been entirely clear on whether or not he actually intends to run. Now, he appears to be preparing at least one avenue for arguing why he won’t be running:

There’s at least one member of Sen. Rand Paul’s family who isn’t quite on board just yet with a 2016 run — and that’s his wife.

After a speech at the Detroit Economic Club today, Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, was asked whether he plans to run in 2016, and he revealed his wife’s displeasure with the idea of a run for the White House.

“Where’s my cellphone? Can I call my wife?” Paul joked. “There’s two votes in my family. My wife has both of them, and both of them are ‘no’ votes right now.

“If I’m a very able politician, I’ll tell you in a year whether I’m able to persuade my wife. Right now, I don’t know yet, but I thank you for your interest,” he added.

Deferring to the wishes of family is nothing new in politics. In the 2012 cycle, then Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who was being urged by many mainstream conservatives to throw his hat into the ring, ended up bowing out of the race in no small part due to what were reported to be the reluctance of his wife and family to expose themselves to the klieg lights of the national political press corps. Other candidates have made similar choices in the past, and if Paul ends up making the same decision and decides to stay in the Senate instead, I personally wouldn’t blame him at all.

It’s also worth noting that Paul faces a particularly difficult choice in 2016 outside of whatever his wife might think. His Senate seat is up for re-election that year and, under state law, he would not be able to appear on the ballot for both Senate and President in that state’s primary. Additionally, if he were to somehow win the GOP nomination he would not be able to run for re-election in the General Election as other candidates (i.e., most recently Joe Biden who ran for Vice-President and re-election to the Senate on the Delaware ballot in 2008). Therefore, an unsuccessful bid for the nomination in 2016 would mean, at least temporarily, the end of his political career. Under those circumstances, it would seem to be far better for him to stay in the Senate rather than risk everything on what, at the moment, appears to be a quixotic bid for the Presidency.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. C. Clavin says:

    Maybe he’s smarter than the average Lubertarian.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    A professional grifter always has a good “escape with the money” plan on stand by..

  3. James Pearce says:

    Therefore, an unsuccessful bid for the nomination in 2016 would mean, at least temporarily, the end of his political career.

    Run, Rand, run!

    I actually think he’s been somewhat chastened by the plagiarism controversy. He’s astute enough to know that hurt him.

  4. dazedandconfused says:

    He is smarter than the average Libertarian. It’s unfortunate Rand was apparently largely home-schooled. He may as yet be unable to let go of his ideology, but at some level he has become aware it’s not working for him and there are large gaps in his knowledge. Saw him use a teleprompter while delivering a speech about how Hillary should not be obeyed if she becomes CIC the other day.

    Contact with the real world has shaken his confidence. He’s already just “mailing it in”.

  5. Gustopher says:

    Does Kentucky allow him to appear on the ballot for both President and Senator in the general election? If the restriction is on the primary ballot only, he could easily just skip Kentucky in the primary.

  6. @Gustopher:

    The bar applies to both the General Election and Primary ballots as I understand it

  7. mattbernius says:

    Ok, I have to give LOTS of points to Kentucky for the entire “can’t run for Senate AND President” thing.

    Out of curiosity, does that apply to VP candidates as well?