Politics & Government

Rand Paul says 2016 presidential chatter is 'good for Kentucky'

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said Kentuckians shouldn't worry that his flirtations with a White House run are coming at their expense.

"I'm home every weekend," Paul said Tuesday in an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader. "I go to my kids' soccer games, my kid's golf matches. I go to church every Sunday in my hometown."

Paul's presidential aspirations have become a hot topic on the national scene this year, aided by his visits to states — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — where the first nominating contests are held.

"I do travel," Paul said. "I mean, I am making speeches in other places. But I think that if you look closely, I've not only been everywhere in Kentucky and continue to be, but our office is very concerned with a lot of legislation peculiar to Kentucky."

Kentucky's junior senator has enjoyed a meteoric rise since he shocked Washington with his election in 2010. Paul gained coveted national attention this year after he won widespread praise for his 13-hour filibuster against domestic drone use and led his party's surprising opposition to strikes in Syria.

The senator repeated Tuesday that he won't make any decision about whether to run for the presidency until after the 2014 midterm elections.

He said people in the Bluegrass State shouldn't worry that they might be left in the shadow of the national spotlight.

"If we're trying to fix the country, you don't fix the country with just one vote, you fix the country with making the Republican Party, I think, a more appealing party that can win nationally," Paul said. "And when that happens, I think that's good for Kentucky also."

Whether he runs for president or not, it won't be an issue for the commonwealth, he said.

"I think it's a benefit for Kentucky to have two loud voices that are prominent on the national scene," Paul said, giving a nod to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader