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As 2016 Campaign Heats Up, Rand Paul Reaches Out to Texas

AUSTIN, Texas — Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), widely assumed to be preparing for a 2016 presidential run, has taken several key steps recently to reach out to the Lone Star State, including making preparations to open an office in Texas and sending a congratulations note to a newly elected state senator who is popular with the conservative grassroots.

According to a report by Politico, Paul is planning to open an office in Austin in spring or early summer of this year. Doug Stafford, Paul’s chief political adviser, remarked on Austin’s status as a haven for entrepreneurs and technology start-ups. “Our intention is to crowd source many things — innovations, applications, volunteer efforts on the digital and political side,” said Stafford. “Austin has a lot of supporters and a lot of talent, and we plan to take advantage of both and have a Team Rand hub there.”

Paul already has at least one local connection: Vincent Harris, the chief digital strategist for Paul’s political action committee, RANDPAC. Harris told Politico that he has had Paul supporters “literally just show up at my company’s office wanting to get involved.” Breitbart Texas reached out to Harris for comment, and he noted the active libertarian scene in Austin as well as describing the state as a “conservative powerhouse of donors, volunteers, and activists,” who would be able to connect through the new Austin office. Said Harris, “Texas is an important, freedom loving state, and that mindset fits well with Senator Paul.”

The Senator also made another move this week that should garner him goodwill with Texas grassroots conservatives: sending a congratulatory note to State Senator Konni Burton (R-Colleyville), who took over the seat vacated by Wendy Davis when she ran for Governor against Greg Abbott. The note reads, “Konni, Congrats on winning your State Senate Seat! I’m guessing you’ll be a 100% improvement over your predecessor!”

Burton, who made a splash on social media on her swearing-in day when she wore custom-made boots with a “Stand for Life” logo, posted a photo of Paul’s card on her Facebook and Twitter accounts, where collectively she received hundreds of likes, retweets, and comments.

Paul’s roots in Texas are well-known: his family moved to the state when he was young and he was raised here, eventually attending Baylor University before heading to Duke University for medical school, and his father, former Congressman Ron Paul, represented a district just outside Houston for decades.

Many of Paul’s anticipated 2016 competitors also have Texas ties: former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Paul’s colleague in the Senate, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) of course, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush grew up in Texas as well.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.

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