Rand Paul, the U.S. senator from Kentucky who was once a legitimate contender for the Republican presidential nomination, dropped out of the race Wednesday, two days after a lackluster showing in the Iowa caucuses.
“It’s been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign for the White House, Paul said in a statement announcing the end of his bid. “Today I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of Liberty.”
Paul, a 53-year-old ophthalmologist who had never run for office before his election to the Senate in 2010, risked losing his Senate seat if he tarried too long in the presidential race. He will now turn his attention to winning reelection in Kentucky, where the Democratic mayor of Lexington announced last week he will run against Paul.
Paul, the son of libertarian former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who ran quixotic but ultimately impactful campaigns for president in 2008 and 2012, rose to national prominence in the spring of 2013 after he spoke on the Senate floor for almost 13 hours to protest President Obama’s use of drones to target American citizens overseas.
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