Jeb Bush for president? 16 Republicans who might run next time

The GOP has a history of nominating people who have run before, which could give heart to some familiar faces. But there’s also a crop of first-timers who could steal the show.

3. Rand Paul

The junior senator from KentuckyRand Paul is the heir to his father’s political franchise. And now that Ron Paul, former congressman from Texas and three-time presidential candidate, has retired from politics, Senator Paul has filled the void.

Paul has emerged as a leading voice for libertarianism within the Republican Party, conducting a headline-grabbing filibuster against drones and floating the idea of a US Supreme Court challenge to government surveillance of phone records. Paul also has tea party appeal. 

But in late October 2013, Paul hit a serious bump over charges of plagiarism in his speeches and other writings. He has admitted “mistakes” and promised to use footnotes, but his defiant response raised questions about his ability to withstand the pressure cooker of a presidential campaign and the presidency itself.

Before the plagiarism flap, Paul was a hard-charger for his point of view. He went after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on foreign policy, arguing a more isolationist approach. Paul also defends the October 2013 government shutdown, which aimed to derail implementation of Obamacare.  

At times, Paul plays nice with the Republican establishment. He gave crucial support to the senior senator from Kentucky, now-majority leader Mitch McConnell, in his successful reelection in 2014. 

In July 2013, Paul laid out what his presidential campaign appeal might look like.

“I’m the kind of candidate, if I were to be a national candidate, that would be someone that says, ‘You know, young people, Republicans, we will protect your privacy, we do care about the Internet, we do want to promote a less aggressive foreign policy – a strong national defense, but a less aggressive foreign policy,' ” Paul said on New Hampshire radio station WGIR-AM.

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