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article imageFacing criticism, Rand Paul starts building campaign network

By Martin Laine     Mar 27, 2014 in Politics
Stung by criticism from Republican strategists and political observers that he has no national campaign network, backers of presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) say they’re just getting started, and they’ll continue to build their organization.
Sen. Paul has been traveling the country giving speeches and meeting with potential big-money donors. His outspoken style and libertarian views have attracted a lot of attention – created buzz, as the saying goes – but skeptics say that may not be enough.
“You can give the greatest speeches in the world, come up with the greatest positions in the world, but if you’re not able to put together the organization to raise money and expand your portfolio, you’re not going to last very long,” said Republican strategist Chris LaCivita, who worked on Sen. Paul’s 2010 Senate campaign, in an article in last Sunday’s New York Times.
In fact, Sen. Paul put together his leadership team just three weeks ago, during a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference. Team Paul, as it’s known, will meet once every quarter with weekly conference calls, according to an article in today’s Washington Post.
“There are people in every state who have joined Team Paul, with the money people ready to go,” said Mallory Factor, a Republican consultant.
Kevin Madden, an advisor to Mitt Romney and House Republican leaders, agreed.
“This framework of supporters is an important building block in the architecture required to build a competitive national campaign,” Madden said.
As it stands now, the leadership team is made up of Joe Lonsdale, a hedge fund manager; Ken Garschina, a principal of Mason Capital Management in New York; Donald and Phillip Huffines, Texas real estate developers; Lane Moore, and Atlanta investor; and Frayda Levy, a board member of the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth.
While these are all people who are successful in their respective fields, what’s missing is someone with national campaign experience.
“The bones of the network are there,” said Nate Morris, a prominent GOP fundraiser. “Among donors, there’s a fever out there, people are looking to rebrand the party, and they haven’t yet been tapped.”
Sen. Paul, 51, is married and has three sons. He is the son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, himself a presidential candidate in 2012. Rand Paul attended Baylor University and then the Duke University Medical School, according to the Biography website. He practiced ophthalmology in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He gradually became more interested in politics, especially in the anti-tax movement.
In 2010, with the retirement of former Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, Rand Paul decided to run for the open seat, even though he had never run for elective office before. He won a resounding upset victory over Trey Grayson, the choice of the Republican establishment.
He is also up for re-election in 2016, and has not yet said if he will try to conduct both campaigns, or abandon one of them.
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