U.S. Sen. Rand Paul isn't waiting for the Kentucky Derby to shoot out of the starting gate.
Next month — the day after the NCAA championship game — Paul plans to announce that he is running for president in front of hundreds of supporters at Louisville's Galt House.
While Paul's team emphasized that the senator might still decide against running for president, they confirmed the planned April 7 launch date, which was originally reported by the New York Times, and said invitations to the event have already been sent to supporters and Republican officials.
The event will prominently feature Kentucky in an effort to capture the historic nature of the announcement for the state. That also dovetails with the desire of Paul's budding campaign team to build a sense of state pride around his candidacy, building a foundation for the senator's presidential campaign and keeping his approval numbers aloft as he tries to run for re-election to his Senate seat simultaneously in 2016.
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Following the announcement, Paul will leave Louisville to embark on a nearly week-long trip to the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, with fundraising stops and grassroots rallies in a handful of other states along the way. Paul has traveled extensively to the early states already, including a return trip to New Hampshire this weekend.
As the Times and others have noted, Paul's early-April announcement coincides with the next U.S. Senate recess and allows the senator to enter the race at the start of a fundraising cycle, giving him a full quarter of raising money before he files his first campaign finance report.