7 Apr 2015

US election profile: Rand Paul announces presidential bid

US Republican Senator Rand Paul has become the second candidate to formally announce their campaign for the 2016 Republican nomination.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is the son of Ron Paul, who twice failed to gain the Republican nomination. Rand Paul is expected to announce his campaign at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky on Tuesday.

Rand Paul’s brand of free-market libertarianism appeals to gun-loving conservative Americans, but also to a younger generation of ultra-liberal voters who back his message of limited government and non-interventionist foreign policy.

The 52-year-old has opposed NSA mass surveillance of Americans, and has expressed sympathy to the plight of Edward Snowden. He has also criticised harsh sentences imposed for the possession and use of marijuana.

In March 2013, Paul used a near-13 hour filibuster speech as a way to question the Obama administrations use of drones within the United States. Comedian Jon Stewart – not known for being a fan of Republicans – praised Paul for highlighting the issue, saying it was “worth kicking up a fuss for”.

Paul is considered a supporter of the Tea Party movement. He describes himself as “100 per cent pro-life” and opposes same-sex marriage.

To become the Republican nominee, Rand Paul will need to draw support from more moderate and establishment Republicans as well as libertarian voters.

Last month, Senator Ted Cruz became the first candidate to formally announce a bid for president. Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush are all expected to formally announce their campaigns in the coming weeks.