Headed to New Hampshire Friday for a sold out event in Manchester, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he’ll be making a decision about whether he’ll run for president by the spring next year.
“My wife and I are still talking about it, and we’ve agreed to continue talking about it, but I don’t think there will be a final decision made until the spring,” Paul said in a phone interview Monday evening.
“That’s about as specific as I can get, because I don’t know how convincing I can be with my wife. We have always sort of said we were going to wait until the spring, at least until after this election–and really, the more we’ve had time to think about it to see how things were going into spring. There’s a lot of different variables, not just family life but also whether or not we think the electorate is warming up to these ideas and ready for maybe a different kind of Republican–a Republican that keeps the core values and beliefs of what we stood for but also has issues and areas of where we can reach out to new people,” he added.
Paul’s Manchester appearance is being billed as a unity event after the state’s primaries are over later tonight.
“It is sold out, and we’re in the process of trying to figure out if we can expand into another room,” New Hampshire GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn told Breitbart News on Tuesday morning.
Horn said that Paul “gets a very good reception” whenever he’s in New Hampshire, one of the nation’s first presidential states.
“It’s part of our culture here,” Horn said. “Anyone who comes up here who’s even being talked about as a potential presidential candidate is always very well-received and we take very seriously the role that we play in that process. Everyone is well-received and given the opportunity to be heard. Sen. Paul is very warmly-received whenever he comes up here. He has a lot of friends in New Hampshire already and people are looking forward to having him back on Friday.”
Paul will be attending events with the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, the candidate who wins today’s primary and gets set to face Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in November. Horn and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) are expected to be at several of these events as well in an effort to unify the party after the primary. Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is expected to edge out his challengers in the primary–Brown moved to New Hampshire after getting ousted from the U.S. Senate by Elizabeth Warren, and is running for the seat from there–but a last minute push poll from Jim Rubens’ campaign suggested he might have a chance.
“When I ran for re-election, I had a pretty bitterly contested primary but one of the things they ask us to do and some of this was at Sen. McConnell’s behest was to come together at a unity rally four days after the election,” Paul said. “I agreed in my primary, because I think what we represent as Republicans–we have some differences of opinion–but what separates us from the Democrats is a great deal and I think it makes a big difference to the country who runs the Senate and who sets the agenda. I’ve always been a big believer in supporting the Party’s nominee. I agreed when I ran for election that I’d support the nominee, and I’ve done several of these unity rallies–we’ve been asked to do others in several other states as well.”
Paul mentioned how he attended a similar event in Maine recently, at which he was warmly received.
“When I was in Maine not too long ago at their state convention, it was billed as a unity rally,” Paul said. “I’ve mentioned it in Kentucky, that the primary season is over now and that we need to come together. It’s kind of an honor to be asked to be part of a unity rally because I think they see you as a peacemaker and someone who can bring the disparate parts of the party together. I kind of laughingly will tell people that I believe in the Jeffersonian adage of peace and commerce with all Republicans. You’ve got to try to find your areas where you agree and try to move forward in elections. We battle fiercely in the primary, and then after the election we have to come together to try to win. New Hampshire, really, now is no longer a red state–it’s more of a purplish state. We can only win if we get all of the Republicans together.”
Paul said he thinks the GOP, as evidence by the New Hampshire GOP asking him to be the unifying force post-primary, is coming more around to his way of thinking when it comes to various political stances.
“I think there’s no question that the Party of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Party of limited government and balanced budgets, really is moving in the direction that I’ve been talking about for several years,” Paul said. “I think that also some of the libertarian-ish kind of ideas are becoming more popular and being seen as many people as a way to expand and grow the party. I ran into somebody today who told me their 13-year-old has been following me for two years. I think a lot of these ideas of personal freedom appeal to younger people who think the government ought to leave them alone.”
Horn said that Paul’s and other national GOP figures’ help in this Senate is crucial to knocking out Shaheen in November, which would help take down Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“I would point out that Sen. Paul is one of many Republicans who have been here helping us with our elections this year and more will come as well,” Horn said. “Just in the last couple weeks, in addition to Sen. Paul, we’ve had Sen. Cruz, Gov. Perry, Gov. Christie, Sen. Portman. So the senator is one of many Republicans who is coming here to make sure not only are we successful in New Hampshire, but that we succeed in this Senate race and make sure that we fire Harry Reid as they’re all saying right now.”
Horn added that immigration is a huge factor in the race against Shaheen, and that all candidates in the GOP primary are strong on the issue.
“Sen. Shaheen has voted 99 percent of the time with President Obama’s agenda, including on immigration,” Horn said. “She’s voted for amnesty, she’s voted against border control and against a border fence. She has failed to stick up for the people of New Hampshire and the people of our country on this issue. That’s become a significant concern for the people in this state because we recognize it isn’t just an issue of border states and it isn’t just an issue of immigration, it’s an issue of national security. Sen. Shaheen has failed on that. All of our Republican candidates going into this primary understand that we need a secure border and strong immigration policy.”
When asked what he likes most about New Hampshire, Paul said he thinks “probably their motto, ‘live free or die.'”
“And most of the people you meet there, they really are ruggedly independent people–people who take a great deal of pride whether it’s wanting to go to the doctor of their choice or wanting to own a gun and exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Paul said. “But I find they’re a very independent-minded people, and they’re also independent with regard to their Party affiliation too. Over a third of the people are independents up there, but I really like the ‘live free or die’ state.”