As with most of the 2016 contenders, Rand Paul is touting his nationwide network of volunteers and state-level organizations as a way to gin up donations and support from big name GOP donors.
Report from the Washington Post:
Sen. Rand Paul has become the first Republican to assemble a network in all 50 states as a precursor to a 2016 presidential run, the latest sign that he is looking to build a more mainstream coalition than the largely ad hoc one that backed his father’s unsuccessful campaigns.
Paul’s move, which comes nearly two years before the primaries, also signals an effort to win the confidence of skeptical members of the Republican establishment, many of whom doubt that his appeal will translate beyond the libertarian base that was attracted to Ron Paul, a former Texas congressman.
The younger Paul’s nationwide organization, which counts more than 200 people, includes new supporters who have previously funded more traditional Republicans, along with longtime libertarian activists. Paul, 51, of Kentucky, has been courting Wall Street titans and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who donated to the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, attending elite conclaves in Utah and elsewhere along with other GOP hopefuls.
For the rest of this year, his national team’s chief duties will be to take the lead in their respective states in planning fundraisers and meet-ups and helping Paul’s Washington-based advisers get a sense of where support is solid and where it’s not. This is essential in key early primary battlegrounds, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, and in areas rich in GOP donors, such as Dallas and Chicago.
“A national leadership team is an important step, and it’s a critical one for the movement going forward,” said Fritz Wenzel, Paul’s pollster. “Rand has tremendous momentum, and the formation of this team will guide him as he gets closer to a decision and [will] serve as a foundation for a campaign.”
A growing number of Republicans have started to consider presidential runs. Aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) are sketching out how possible bids could look and keeping tabs on donors and potential staff members. Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former congressman Rick Santorum (Pa.), a distant runner-up to Romney in the 2012 race for the GOP nomination, have been wooing conservative leaders.
Paul’s been doing this a bit more publicly than his counterparts with hopes of generating news items, like this one, about how built-out his campaign appears to be. The big money donors will be looking for organization and a credible infrastructure to begin building up a campaign in these early stages. With Paul coming from the “outside,” he’ll have to prove this beyond the establishment favorites like Chris Christie or Jeb Bush, who will get a pass during this portion of the game.