Paul, a self-described “constitutional conservative,” announced his candidacy in April 2015, billing himself as an anti-establishment candidate determined to cut federal spending while protecting civil liberties. “Congress will never balance the budget unless you force them to do so.” Paul said in a speech in Louisville, Ky., announcing his candidacy. “Congress has an abysmal record with balancing anything. Our only recourse is to force Congress to balance the budget with a constitutional amendment.” In 2014, he called for the United States to declare war against the Islamic State terrorist group. But he said he would limit military action in Syria and Iraq to a period of a year, and restrict the use of ground forces. Paul has been a critic of the Obama administration’s national security policies. In 2013, he conducted a 13-hour filibuster to speak out against the use of drone strikes and Obama’s nominee to head the CIA. In GOP debates, he has criticized the National Security Agency’s cellphone data collection program, saying “every American has a constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy which must be protected.”
Paul, 53, a Republican, is a first-term U.S. senator representing Kentucky. He is the son of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012 and as a Libertarian candidate in 1988. Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist, ran his own practice for 18 years in Bowling Green, Ky., and worked on his father’s political campaigns, before running for the Senate. Rand Paul rode tea party support to win the seat in 2010. He attended Baylor University, and graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in 1988. Paul has been married for 24 years to Kelley Ashby Paul. The couple have three sons.