Rand Paul’s leadership political action committee, RAND PAC, is launching ad buys on behalf of several Republican Senate candidates in tight races. RAND PAC had $242,000 cash on hand as of October 15, and has raised an additional $300,000 from a Ron Paul-style moneybomb over the last two weeks. The six-figure broadcast, cable, and online ad buys will primarily target Kansas, where incumbent Republican Pat Roberts is facing an unexpectedly tight contest against independent Greg Orman. The ads focus on the topic of foreign aid, with Paul lauding Roberts for opposing foreign aid to countries hostile to the United States. Furthermore, RAND PAC is spending $16,000 apiece in Kentucky, Iowa ,New Hampshire, and North Carolina to support other Republican Senate candidates in competitive races.
Many other potential presidential contenders, such as Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, have been stumping around the country with Republican candidates this year. However, Paul goes a step further, digging into his own coffers in a largely symbolic yet meaningful gesture of support. The ad buys are unlikely to have any significant effect, especially considering the comparatively miniscule amount spent in Iowa, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. That being said, they should build goodwill with candidates who could very well be Senators next year. As many of these races are polling within the margin of error, candidates need all the help they can get. Let us also not forget that Iowa and New Hampshire are early presidential primary states, and will be very important to Paul should he decide to run for president.
While Paul’s actions may be questionable to many of his longtime supporters, especially the more ideologically pure ones, such maneuvering is necessary for any potential presidential contender. Paul must be seen as a “team player” if he is to take the steps that his father never did towards winning. If Paul wants to win the Republican nomination in 2016 and succeed where his father has failed, he will need the ability to call in favors, especially in early primary states. Paul will certainly not be the establishment’s preferred candidate in 2016, but he needs to be at least tolerable to the power brokers in the Republican Party. Considering the misconceptions and hostility some in the party show toward Paul, it is a political necessity that he spends time traversing the country, supporting the party’s candidates and reaching out to politicians and donors. All in all, Paul’s recent politicking once again demonstrates that—if he runs in 2016—he will be a serious candidate with a real chance of winning.