Rand Paul ended his presidential campaign less than a week before the New Hampshire primary after he underperformed in the Iowa caucuses. Now Paul has announced that he won’t be endorsing in the primary.
Both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, despite their differences with the libertarian-leaning senator, could gain votes from Paul supporters, and their recent actions show it.
Rubio extended an olive branch with positive comments about the liberty coalition, despite his prior sparring with Paul over foreign policy and civil liberties. And Ted Cruz immediately struck the same kind of libertarian-leaning tone he used to court Paul’s supporters during his 2012 Senate race.
While Paul will not make a primary endorsement, he has pledged to back the Republican nominee, just as he supported Mitt Romney when it was clear he was going to be the Republican pick in 2012
This dedication to his party places Senator Paul more firmly within the Republican coalition than his father, former congressman Ron Paul. Though he was a Republican, Ron Paul had a habit of refusing to offer his support to the GOP in general elections.
While Senator Paul’s exit is no doubt disappointing to his supporters, Republican activists and candidates have been supportive of Paul, happy to see that he’s working to keep his Senate seat in party hands.
Paul is being challenged in Kentucky by the mayor of Lexington, Democrat Jim Gray. His seat is considered safely Republican, and as Paul’s senior advisor Doug Stafford noted, he’s done a good job of representing Kentucky while on the campaign trail. His Senate attendance rate is 95 percent.
In a statement announcing the end of his campaign, Paul wrote, “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 touted the unique message his campaign brought to the table, citing his support for a restrained foreign policy, privacy rights, and criminal justice reform. He declared that “Brushfires of Liberty were ignited,” and that he plans to continue the fight in the Senate.