Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky built a national reputation on his willingness to challenge Republican orthodoxies. As he launches a 2016 presidential bid, he is reaching out to more traditional voters as well. Paul announced his candidacy on Tuesday in a post on his website, a few hours before what his political action committee described as “a very special rally” scheduled for 11:30 a.m. (1530 GMT) at a hotel in Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city. “I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” he said in the post. But the anti-war agitator who mounted a 13-hour filibuster to call attention to the United States’ use of drones recently proposed a boost to military spending. The firebrand who wants to scale back the authority of the Federal Reserve has been quietly courting Wall Street donors. And the 52-year-old former eye surgeon who harnessed the anti-establishment energy of the Tea Party movement has been raising money for fellow Republicans, at times upsetting the grassroots activists who have made him a national figure. Tuesday’s announcement makes Paul the second major Republican figure to announce presidential ambitions for 2016, after Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. A crowded field is expected, and candidates will be competing hard for constituencies ranging from the Christian right to traditional Wall Street Republicans.
So, do you stand with Rand? or Cruz with Ted?