It seems that Rand Paul is gearing up for a run at the GOP nomination for president. He has been assembling a PAC for weeks. Tuesday, Paul announced the hiring of a man that he thinks will put him over the top come the primaries. Chip Englander has been hired to be the eventual campaign manager for the Paul campaign when he announces.
Englander is fresh off of a hard fought victory in Illinois. There he helped Republican Bruce Rauner achieve victory in a strong blue state. This campaign was one which included a tight primary and then a decisive victory in the election. This bodes well for him, as this kind of effort will be needed if Paul is to represent the GOP in 2016.
The 33 year-old Englander has spent most of his career in California politics. Englander was able to out work the Democrats in Illinois. He beat them in the traditional Democratic demographic. This is a good sign that if Paul wins the nomination, this manager knows how to win. Paul said during the announcement:
“His management of Governor Rauner’s successful race last year highlights his strengths: precise and strategic management of massive, grassroots-driven operations.”
The choice of Englander points to another trend in the Paul PAC. Paul has stirred clear of many of the people associated with his father’s campaign. There is also the fact that none of these guys are what you would call the usual suspects in Washington. Though it might be that Rand was seeking to do things his own way, it may highlight his attempt to look less radical.
There is no denying that though much of what Ron Paul said was dead on, much of the way he said things scared or alienated the populist. This might be an effort on Rand’s part to separate himself from that way of campaigning.
Paul has assembled a team of less well-known but experienced campaigners who believe that they have a chance, even against well knowns such as Bush and Romney. They believe that they can campaign on the issues and outlast most of the other candidates.
Rand’s team includes his national political director John Yob, Chris LaCivita who will direct Paul’s SC campaign. Both have the background to help run a smooth campaign. Michael Biundo, formally of Santorum’s ’12 bid for president is another senior adviser. This coupled with Paul’s building relationships with donors points again to a mainstream type of race.
The question remains to be seen if this will affect the issues for Paul. One of the reasons for his father popularity was his anti- GOP establishment status. Paul, though an older man, was vastly popular among college age voters. This can mainly be contributed to his lack of big money and mainstream Republican connections.
Rand may have the money and the advisors to be successful, but will he have his father’s ability to draw both groups. If not, he might find himself in the same spot as Ron come 2016. If he can pull off a miracle, and bring big money together with conservative values, then Paul might be the candidate to beat.
He faces the same difficulty that I showed faces Marco Rubio. He tends to be more conservative that some in the GOP can stomach. Yet if he can draw and hold support from the conservative, moderate, and libertarian circles, Paul would be the perfect candidate to face the progressive Hillary.