Friday, 07 August 2009

Rand Paul Running for U.S. Senate

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Rand PaulRand Paul officially opened his campaign for Kentucky’s open U.S. Senate seat August 5. Paul is a medical doctor and the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and he is clearly following in his father’s ideological footsteps.

According to his campaign website, he opposes all bailouts of private industry and looming inflation, while supporting lower taxes, lower spending, balancing the federal budget, and the Second Amendment. Rand Paul also supports abolition of the Federal Reserve Bank and is pro-life. “The Federal Government must return to its constitutionally enumerated powers and restore our inalienable rights,” Dr. Paul says. “America can prosper, preserve personal liberty, and repel national security threats without intruding into the personal lives of its citizens.”

As an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon), the 46-year-old Dr. Paul speaks with authority on the dangers of socialized medicine. He told CNN’s Kiran Chetry on August 6 that the American people are right to be “afraid of losing their choices.” He explained of legislation currently moving through Congress that:

They titled their act the Free Choice Health Care Act, but I think the more benign sounding the title, maybe the more ominous the contents. Within the health care bill, it actually is going to limit your choices. You will only be able to buy government-approved insurance — pages 16 through 19 — and I think that worries people. People also see the reports, like from England, where there’s a breast cancer drug like Herceptin that blocks the estrogen receptors. It’s not available in England because it’s too expensive. I’m in the business of eye surgery and eye disease, and one of the common diseases in the eye is abnormal blood vessels that grow into the back of the eye called macular degeneration. We inject a drug called Avastin. In England you had to prove you were blind in one eye before they might let you use it in the second eye. Americans are going to be very fearful of losing their choices. We have problems in health care, but the main problem is expense, not access.

The path for a Senate run was cleared last month when incumbent Senator Jim Bunning bowed out of a reelection bid. Bunning had been plagued with low polling numbers and an inability to raise campaign funds after a public spat with Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, the senior Kentucky senator.  “I have nothing but good things to say about Senator Bunning,” Dr. Paul said about the incumbent Senator on his Facebook page after Bunning announced his retirement. “I would also like to thank him for his service, and I commend him for his courage to vote against the bank bailout.”

Dr. Paul is still an underdog for the seat, and will likely face Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and businessman Bill Johnson in the Republican primary. Two Democrats have also announced their candidacies in the Republican-leaning state. Grayson is clearly the establishment favorite, and has already raised more than $600,000 with his exploratory campaign. Grayson can probably count on support from McConnell and the Republican National Committee as well. The Rand Paul for Senate exploratory website reports that he has raised $200,000 as of August 7, with a major fundraiser planned for August 20.

The August 20 Internet “money bomb” is being planned by Trevor Lyman, the same music promoter who independently organized the multimillion dollar Ron Paul money bombs during the 2008 presidential campaign. The goal of the August 20 money bomb — which happens to be the elder Dr. Paul’s birthday — is to raise more than $1 million for the campaign. 

The Rand Paul candidacy may be a sign of the flowering of the Ron Paul "constitutionalist" movement that took off in the 2008 presidential race. Financial expert Peter Schiff is considering a race for the Connecticut Senate seat of Christopher Dodd, who is considered highly vulnerable in next year's race. Schiff, who accurately predicted the current recession, was an economic adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign last year and his exploratory campaign has already raised nearly $500,000.

Photo of Dr. Rand Paul: AP Images

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