Struggling to gain traction in the Republican presidential race, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) this week will turn his attention to fundraising for his Senate reelection efforts.
Paul, who is running for president and reelection to the Senate simultaneously, will attend fundraisers for his Senate campaign on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, D.C., according to invitations for the events obtained by The Hill.
One Republican operative with close ties to Kentucky politics warned against reading too much into Paul’s Senate fundraisers, saying it’s not a sign that Paul is giving up on running for president, but rather a necessity of running for two offices at once.
The operative said it’s a good use of time for Paul to fundraise for the Senate while he’s in Washington. Paul can tap groups that may be friendly to his Senate bid but aren’t inclined to commit to him, or any candidate, while the GOP presidential field remains this large.
Paul, he noted, isn’t going all in yet on fundraising for Senate – he’s not on the ground in Kentucky fighting for resources with the candidates running for statewide office, where elections for governor on down will be held this November.
A spokesperson for Paul’s Senate campaign did not return a request for comment.
Still, one Kentucky Republican operative said the fundraisers will inevitably be viewed through the prism of Paul’s fledgling presidential campaign.
“Some of this is self-evident,” the Kentucky Republican operative said. “If he thought he’d be the nominee, he wouldn’t spend time hedging his bets and raising money for the Senate race. I think that tells you everything you need to know.”
Nobody at this point believes Rand Paul has a serious shot. He's been stuck in the single digits nationally and isn't in the running for Iowa or New Hampshire at this point. I don't know how long he can pretend like he's still a viable candidate, but I hear there's a lot of that going around in the GOP currently. Right now Rand is trying to win South Carolina, for instance. I guess that's a plan.
Everyone's waiting on the other guy to drop out so that they can stay in and pick up staffers and donors to live to fight another day, but if even Jeb Bush's donors are demanding that their paid and bough for candidate start producing bu Halloween, the half-dozen other Republicans floating around the 2% mark like Rand here don't have long in this race at all.