Rand Paul

Just seven candidates will take the main stage for the next Republican presidential debate, on the Fox Business Network on Thursday evening — the fewest of any GOP debate so far in the 2016 campaign.

Businessman Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will battle it out in the main event in Charleston, S.C.

Rand Paul’s presidential campaign is still not gaining speed.

At this point, it’s a running theme.

Last week, Paul barely made it on to the main stage (again) for the Republican presidential debate, and many pundits are expecting Paul to drop out of the race any day now.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul is moving forward with his dual campaigns in Kentucky.

On Monday, Paul filed to run in both the Kentucky Republican presidential caucus on March 5 and for re-election to his current seat in the U.S. Senate.

Kentucky’s presidential caucus is being held by the state Republican Party in an effort to help Paul skirt a state law prohibiting candidates from appearing twice on a ballot. The caucus allows him to run for re-election to the Senate while also drawing home state support in his bid for the White House.

WKU PBS

In the wake of the deadly attacks last week in Paris, Sen. Rand Paul plans to introduce legislation that “would suspend visa issuance for countries with a high risk of terrorism.”

Paul’s intentions, announced Monday, join a chorus of Republicans seeking to take steps following the Paris attacks. About a dozen Republican governors — including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — have also announced they intend to block the intake of refugees from countries dealing with ISIS and other terrorist groups.

In September, Secretary of State John Kerry promised that the U.S. would take in 100,000 refugees from the war-ravaged Syria by 2017.

Paul’s proposed legislation would also “impose a waiting period for background checks on visa issuance from other countries until the American people can be assured terrorists cannot enter the country through our immigration and visa system,” according to a statement from his office released Monday.

The time has come to stop terrorists from walking in our front door,” Paul said in a statement. “The Boston Marathon bombers were refugees, and numerous refugees from Iraq, including some living in my hometown, have attempted to commit terrorist attacks.

It was probably only a matter of time before we got the live-streamed campaign.

With Periscope, Vine and Snapchat, candidates have seized on new apps this cycle to produce behind-the-scenes, unfiltered moments and deliver them to voters.

On Tuesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul took the trend to its inevitable conclusion and broadcast the bulk of his day on the Iowa campaign trail on the Internet.

WFPL

Republican Rand Paul says he has contributed $250,000 and pledged another $200,000 to pay for a proposed GOP presidential caucus in his home state of Kentucky next year.

State GOP officials are scheduled to vote Saturday on rules for the proposed March 5 caucus.

The state party's proposed switch from a primary to a caucus would allow Paul to run for president and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat simultaneously without violating a state law banning candidates from appearing on the ballot twice.

In a letter to party officials, Paul says he transferred $250,000 to a state GOP account. He pledged to raise or transfer another $200,000. He says the caucus will cost an estimated $400,000 to $500,000.

More money would come from filing fees paid by candidates.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Paul is sticking to his commitment to defray caucus costs. McConnell has endorsed the caucus.

WFPL News

If Sen. Rand Paul wants a presidential caucus in Kentucky, state Republican Party leaders want to see the money to pay for it upfront.

Scott Lasley, chair of a special committee created by the Republican Party of Kentucky, said one of the latest conditions for approval of a state party rule change is that money for a caucus be secured before the GOP central committee decides the matter on Aug. 22.

Earlier this year, Paul asked state Republicans to consider a caucus instead of a primary in 2016.

The state’s major political parties have traditionally held primary elections for president. But a state law prohibits candidates from appearing twice on a ballot. A presidential caucus would allow Paul to seek re-election to the U.S. Senate while also seeking home state support for his presidential campaign.

Paul’s campaign has said it would fund the caucus, which Lasley expects to cost $500,000. But as the Kentucky GOP’s central committee mulls over a draft plan sent out last week, they want more assurances.

“The deal is that the money is supposed to be there,” Lasley said. “If it’s not there, I think there’s going to be problems.”

WFPL News

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul got plenty of attention Saturday during the Fancy Farm Picnic in Western Kentucky.

But it wasn’t the good kind.

“Now, Rand Paul is busy,” Fancy Farm emcee Matt Jones told the crowd. “He has a presidential race to lose. He has to make sure to take care of that.”

Jones and others — Democrats, particularly — piled up on Paul all weekend.

With the Kentucky senator’s White House bid in the national news for its recent struggles, state Democrats are uniting behind the belief that he may also be vulnerable in his simultaneous effort to retain his Senate seat.

Most polls show Paul getting in the range of 5 percent of the vote in the crowded Republican presidential primary field. His fundraising efforts have been equally lackluster.

In a recent story, Politico reported that Paul’s aversion to seeking big campaign donations from wealthy contributors is part of what’s holding him back.

Stephen Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky, said the biggest problem is Paul’s personality.

Abbey Oldham

An amendment championed by Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator would change the way deployed military personnel are counted in the Census.

Rand Paul’s amendment would require the Census to count all deployed servicemen and women at the base or port where they lived before deployment. Currently, those individuals are counted as part of the U.S. overseas population.

Senator Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green, told WKU Public Radio the change would make a big difference to communities around Fort Campbell.

“A lot of things are decided based on how big your community. So if we don’t count the soldiers, and, let’s say Hopkinsville had 49,000 people, but if we did count the soldiers and Hopkinsville had 59,000 people, it would make a big difference in how the government treats the city of Hopkinsville.”

Paul’s amendment, known as the Service Members and Communities Count Act,  was added to the National Defense Authorization Act Thursday. Two years ago, the same amendment was attached to legislation but was ultimately removed before the bill was signed into law.

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is calling for a "fair and flat tax" that he says would "blow up" the nation's tax code.

The first-term Kentucky senator on Thursday released the outline of a plan to institute a 14.5 percent income tax rate on all individuals and on businesses. His campaign says the proposal would cut taxes by $2 trillion over the next decade.

It's among the first detailed policy proposals released by his presidential campaign.

Paul calls for the elimination of the payroll tax on workers. He also eliminates corporate subsidies and personal deductions, except those for mortgage interest and charitable donations.

He's also promising deep spending cuts to ensure revenue losses don't explode the national deficit.

Ashley Lopez, WFPL

An analysis of fundraising data from the beginning weeks of Rand Paul’s presidential campaign shows he has strong support from donors in small towns.

The New York Times reports the Bowling Green Republican took in $1 million online in less than 30 hours after formerly launching his campaign April 7.

A quarter of the more than 15,000 donors who gave to Paul list addresses in communities that have populations under 10,000 people.

The 2010 Census shows only 15 percent of Americans live in communities of that size.

The average donation made at Paul’s website was around $60  during the first weeks of his campaign, meaning Paul will be able to ask many of those same donors for additional gifts during the primary season.

Another takeaway from the analysis is the overlap of donors who have given to both Rand Paul’s campaign and the 2012 White House bid by his father, then-Texas Congressman Ron Paul. At least 2,000 of the donors to Rand Paul last month also gave to his father’s campaign, although the Times says that number is likely higher because many small donors don’t appear on federal filings.

Ashley Lopez, WFPL

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul’s efforts to appeal to minority voters hit a rough patch over the past week.

The junior senator from Kentucky made some off-hand comments during the peak of unrest in the city of Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray—a black man who died in police custody. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby recently said there is probable cause to file criminal homicide charges against six police officers following Gray’s death.

Paul told a conservative talk show host Tuesday he was glad his train didn’t make a stop in Baltimore during the riots and protests there.

There was almost immediate backlash, mostly from minority groups.

But later in the week, Paul said there was nothing to apologize for.

“My comments I think were misinterpreted in some ways,” he told reporters during a small event in Buckner on Friday.

Republican Senator Rand Paul is now the first presidential candidate to accept contributions in the form of Bitcoin. The digital currency is new territory for campaign finance law.

Richard Hasen is a law and political science professor at the University of California-Irvine.
He says he doesn’t think Bitcoin will provide a significant source of funding for Paul’s campaign, but he’s not surprised the Republican candidate has chosen to accept Bitcoin. "I think it’s more of a novelty and it certainly fits in with Senator Paul’s image to try to be tech-savvy and there is a kind of a libertarian edge to Bitcoin. So, I think it is quite a natural fit for him to be the one to do it." he said.

But, there are some issues. Bitcoin makes it easier to contribute to a political campaign anonymously and
Hasen says Paul’s campaign will have to rely on donors to provide information, since Bitcoin is an untraceable and unregulated currency.

Hasen says Paul’s campaign is also going to have to make sure contributions aren’t from foreign countries.
The Paul campaign is only accepting up to 100 dollars in Bitcoin contributions per individual.

Abbey Oldham

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul made no mention of the unarmed black man killed by a white police officer during a campaign stop just miles from where the shooting happened.

Paul often says that U.S. criminal justice isn't equally applied, a statement he repeated at his rally Thursday. But since launching his White House bid Tuesday, the Kentucky senator has sidestepped questions about the high-profile South Carolina case.

North Charleston police officer Michael Slager initially claimed he shot Scott in self-defense. Slager was later fired and charged with murder after a bystander's video showed him firing his weapon repeatedly as Scott fled.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford did not shy away from the case, telling Paul supporters it proves the senator is right about the importance of civil liberties.

In fact, Sen. Rand Paul's first days as a presidential candidate have not gone as planned.

The first-term Kentucky senator is no stranger to attention. But in opening his campaign, he betrayed a hot temperament that, by his own admission, needs some control.

After defensive and dodging press interviews about abortion, Iran and his shifting views on some issues, he's acknowledged he'll have to get better at holding his tongue and temper.

Paul skipped encounters with the media altogether after his rally in South Carolina on Thursday.

In his first 24 hours as a contender, Paul lectured an NBC reporter about how to ask a question and grew testy in an Associated Press interview when asked about abortion policy.

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