Presidential hopeful and U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he won’t attend the Fancy Farm political picnic next month.
Paul is also running for re-election to his Senate seat next year, and some analysts say this could prompt future challengers to criticize Paul for not paying attention to his home state while he runs for two offices simultaneously.
Al Cross with the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues says Fancy Farm is a must stop for any politician in Kentucky running for statewide office.
"People in far western Kentucky who are very isolated from the rest of the state expect statewide politicians to come ask for their votes," Cross noted.
But Rand Paul is also battling it out for the Republican Presidential nomination in a very crowded race. So, even though he’s also running for his Senate seat next year—Paul recently told the press he won’t be going to Fancy Farm.
"I think right now they have me in New Hampshire that weekend," explained Paul.
Cross says it’s not surprising Paul is focusing on looming presidential primaries. There are more than a dozen people running for the Republican nomination. Paul doesn’t have any challengers yet for his Senate seat. Cross says if he does get an opponent, missing Fancy Farm could become a campaign issue.
"I think it does provide an opening for people who want to criticize him for not concentrating on his Senate job," stated Cross.
Rand Paul attended the picnic last year and says he plans to be there in 2016.