Rand Paul announces he's running for president

Katie Zezima-- The Washington Post

Sen. Rand Paul, the maverick first-term senator who rode a tea party wave from a Kentucky ophthalmology practice to Congress, on Tuesday formally announced a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

"I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government," Paul wrote on his official campaign Web site, hours ahead of an official campaign launch in Louisville.

Paul’s announcement makes him the second major Republican candidate to formally jump into the 2016 race, just the first of a string of campaign debuts slated for this month.

A strongly libertarian conservative, Paul first drew notice as a freshman senator for a nearly 13-hour filibuster he conducted in opposition to President Obama’s drone policy and the nomination of John O. Brennan to head the CIA.

An ophthalmologist who still performs pro bono eye surgeries, Paul did not hold elected office until ascending to the Senate in 2010 -- but he’s been steeped in politics for his entire life as the scion of one of America’s most famous libertarian families. As a college student, Paul once took a semester off from school to work on father Ron Paul’s Senate primary campaign in 1984 and was involved with the longtime congressman's other runs for elected office, including his two campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination.

On the campaign trail, the Kentucky senator is expected to continue the pitch he’s made while traveling the country to lay the groundwork for a presidential run: that the Republican Party needs to broaden its appeal to voters who have traditionally shunned it.

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