Republican Sen. Rand Paul is moving forward with his dual campaigns in Kentucky.
On Monday, Paul filed to run in both the Kentucky Republican presidential caucus on March 5 and for re-election to his current seat in the U.S. Senate.
Kentucky’s presidential caucus is being held by the state Republican Party in an effort to help Paul skirt a state law prohibiting candidates from appearing twice on a ballot. The caucus allows him to run for re-election to the Senate while also drawing home state support in his bid for the White House.
Paul is the sixth Republican presidential candidate to file for the caucus. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have also filed.
Flanked by Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-4th District, in Louisville on Monday, Paul said it’s a good time to be a Republican in the commonwealth.
“It is exciting to be part of a growing conservative Republican Party in Kentucky,” he said to a crowd of a couple dozen supporters and reporters at the Jefferson County Republican Party West End Office.
Following big wins for the party this month, Paul said he was looking forward to a new political season where Republicans will now hold prominent positions in state government.
The wins are also a signal that Paul’s seat in the Senate is becoming increasingly safe for a Republican. It was widely thought that Democratic state Auditor Adam Edelen would challenge Paul before his surprise loss earlier this month to Republican state Rep. Mike Harmon.
Still, Paul’s White House run is failing to gain traction. According to a Real Clear Politics national polling average, he is polling at about 2.3 percent nationwide.
During the announcement, supporters said Paul remains an important voice in the presidential race.
“Paul has done more to create the dialogue that is happening in 2016 in this presidential race than anyone — bar none,” said Bevin.
Paul said he would continue defending his Libertarian-leaning conservative beliefs. He said despite recent world events, lawmakers should still be taking a close look at military spending.
The junior senator also said he would continue pushing for tax reform in an effort to help combat poverty, particularly in struggling pockets of inner cities such as the West End of Louisville. Paul has proposed “Economic Freedom Zones” in West Louisville and other areas with jobless rates one-and-a-half times the national average or where a quarter of residents are earning below the federal poverty line.
“It is my goal in running for the presidency and in running for re-election to talk a lot about how our ideas for how we overcome poverty are different from the other parties,” he said.
So far, no major candidate has filed to run for Paul’s Senate seat. The filing deadline is in January.