LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sen. Rand Paul officially filed for reelection and for president in his home state Monday, a move he insists does not undermine his faltering presidential campaign.
Paul is the only major candidate running for president who is running for two public offices at once. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are not facing election bids in 2016 for their current jobs; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida decided not to seek reelection in favor of his presidential campaign.
In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Paul noted that he is not the first to file parallel candidacies in the same year, citing House Speaker Paul Ryan's double candidacy in 2012 when he ran for reelection and as Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate.
"A lot of people who support me want to have my voice on the national stage," Paul said.
The move is complicated for Paul because of a Kentucky law barring candidates from appearing on the ballot twice in the same election. The state Republican party decided to hold its first-ever presidential caucus in March to avoid the conflict in its normal primary election in May. Paul raised $250,000 to cover the caucus' cost. And on Monday, he is scheduled to pay the $15,000 filing fee to participate in the caucus.
Paul on Monday highlighted his ideas for alleviating poverty by creating "economic freedom zones" where federal taxes would be slashed in poor areas of the country. And he blamed Republicans in part for the country's poor financial state.
"I'm not afraid to say, 'Look, sometimes Republicans have been part of the problem,' " he said.
Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz already have filed for Kentucky's caucus. Paul said he is directing most of his efforts on the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, focusing on students, independent-minded voters, and "the liberty movement within the GOP."