Paul’s Place a Popular Destination for Republican Candidates

Paul’s Place a Popular Destination for Republican Candidates

Even though we’re still not close to the end of this year, candidates for office are already jostling for position in the 2014 and 2016 races. And right now, almost all of the Republican roads come back to Sen. Rand Paul.

Since winning the Kentucky Senate seat in 2010, Paul has continued his upward trend as one of the voices for America’s Tea Party movement. He came in as an outsider, not a speck of DC dirt on his sweaters and button-ups. And that attribute has made him a key figure for more than one Republican interested in tapping into a similar base.

As Slate explains, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just got an endorsement from Paul (despite McConnell supporting Paul’s challenger in 2010). That is sure to come in handy when the long-established McConnell gets pressured by anti-establishment challengers.

The GOP’s New Paths to Power

“It used to be that a senator like [John] Cornyn, the second-most-powerful Republican in the Senate, could rely on seniority and incumbency. The re-election rates in the United States Senate hover around 90 percent. Even fewer senators lose their party primaries. But with the rise of the Tea Party in 2010, Washington titles started to provide less protection…[McConnell] faces a Tea Party challenger whom he may be able to beat, but who will at the very least cause distraction, bleed his bank account, and potentially put McConnell in a weaker spot for the general election. The situation is perilous enough for the minority leader that Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report has moved McConnell’s race into the tossup column. As the old bulls get weaker, the young bucks get stronger.”

Being connected to a Tea Party Senator like Paul shows you’re not going to be a part of the system. It shows an independent streak, brand-new brand-new, not same-old same-old. Not only does it work, but the movement has clearly tapped into a voice in America that was quiet just a small number of years ago (as Paul’s current fundraising numbers for 2013 will demonstrate). You can read more on Slate.

So if you’re a Republican candidate, who do you want to be tied to? Parts of the long-running political machine, or the face of a new wave of politics, one that is keeping his foot on the gas and shows no signs of slowing down?

I’d want to hop on whatever street takes me to Paul’s place too.

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