Can Rand Paul Make It Rain?Submitted by Allegory on Wed, 03/12/2014 - 17:51
Libertarian-leaning Republican Rand Paul has his fair share of supporters, but whether he can win over the big wig wolves of Wall Street remains to be seen.
He’s won the CPAC straw poll two years in a row. (Very) early primary polls put him leading among likely contenders in New Hampshire, Iowa and Ohio. And pundits are already calling him the 2016 front-runner.
But as the 2016 election season looms, questions remain about whether or not Kentucky Senator Rand Paul can win over one key constituency: those mostly Manhattan moneymen and women who bankroll Republican presidential candidates.
Interviews with over a dozen top GOP donors and people close to Paul say that he has been aggressively courting that crew, making several trips to New York for meetings with would-be presidential campaign contributors.
Compared to previous nominees like Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George Bush, Paul, an ophthalmologist by training, lacks an easy familiarity with, say, the language of private equity or the condition of the slopes at Deer Valley. His backers say that Paul has the potential to rewrite some of the encrusted left-right divide that has gripped presidential contests for generations. His views on criminal justice reform, voting rights, drug laws and the national security state, for example, put him to the left of most national Democrats.
“Everybody agrees that the Republican brand hasn’t been getting the job done,” said one donor close to Paul, who like others interviewed for this article requested anonymity in order to speak freely about a political process that is still far from settled. “He can be a transformative candidate though, the kind who can fix a lot of what is wrong with the party.”