Rand Paul grew up in Texas where his father, Ron Paul, served as a Republican congressman from Texas’ 14th and 22nd congressional districts. After attending Baylor University and the Duke University School of Medicine, Mr. Paul moved to Kentucky and began practicing as an ophthalmologist in 1993 with the completion of his residency.
Paul has spent much of his adult life surrounded by politics, though only relatively recently as an actual politician. He worked on his father’s 1988 Libertarian presidential campaign as well as his failed bid for the 2008 Republican nomination. The younger Paul also successfully managed his father’s 1996 congressional campaign. Rand has participated in a number of conservative activist organizations over the years, including the Young Conservatives of Texas, the Kentucky Taxpayers Union, and FreedomWorks – whom he joined in filing a class-action lawsuit against the federal government over phone record metadata collection.
Paul made the jump to politician in 2009 when he decided to run for the United States Senate in Kentucky. With the support of the growing Tea Party movement – of which Ron Paul is credited as the intellectual father – Paul was elected and immediately began to receive attention as a young senator unafraid to make a scene, taking impassioned and strong-willed stances to make points that at times have irritated both left and right. Senator Paul’s political career has reflected his fervent belief in libertarian values, with him describing his own role in the Senate as to “draw attention to some important questions that get shuffled aside,” primarily concerning constitutional liberties. Over the course of his three terms, Senator Paul has proposed a $500 billion spending cut, voted against extending three key provisions of the USA Patriot Act, questioned the Obama administration’s use of drones, and participated in a number of lengthy filibusters.
Paul’s presidential campaign kicked off in Louisville, looking to take advantage of his father’s solid libertarian base while softening his ideology to attract support from common republicans. Paul has described himself as “libertarian-ish.” At the top of Paul’s platform is a desire to balance the federal budget and cut spending. He has continued to vigorously oppose bulk collection of personal data, engaging Chris Christie in a heated exchange in August over the NSA. The Rand Paul team initially hoped his fiery disdain for the “Washington Machine” would make him stand out as unique; however, he has struggled to gain major traction in the crowded field that has other candidates appealing to similar voters.