The Republican fight for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination promises to be an interesting one for pundits, as there may be a dozen or more serious candidates who throw their hats into the ring before voting begins and the field inevitably narrows.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) became the first contender to start his campaign in March, and now he’s been joined by a second name, one that may be of interest to Republican voters who support online poker.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) announced his candidacy for president on Tuesday, saying that he would be a different kind of candidate than most of the other Republicans expected to join the field.
The libertarian made his announcement at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville to a crowd of about 1,000 supporters.
Paul Campaign To Have Libertarian Bent
The Paul campaign will be using the slogan “Defeat the Washington Machine, Unleash the American Dream,” and Paul has already been expanding on those ideals in the hours since his campaign launched.
“I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” Paul said in the initial announcement posted on his website. At the rally in Louisville, he said that his campaign had come “to take our country back.”
Paul’s campaign seems ready to focus on a number of big picture issues, including foreign policy and his views on government surveillance programs.
One issue that isn’t likely to come up often on the campaign trail is that of online poker; as much as it is a major issue in the poker world, it simply isn’t one of the bigger national debates taking place at the moment.
Paul Opposed to Restrictions on Internet Poker
Still, Paul’s views on Internet poker should please just about every player who is considering voting for him. In an interview with The Alpha Pages, Paul once explained in clear words his position on the topic.
“I’m opposed to restrictions on online gambling,” Paul said in response to a question about recent efforts to restrict online poker. “The government needs to stay out of that business.”
Paul is far from the only Republican to take the view that online poker bans like RAWA are problematic on states’ rights grounds, as intrastate gambling has traditionally been governed by the states themselves.
Other Republicans have sided with Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, who has been pushing the Restoration of America’s Wire Act as a way to stop the spread of online poker and other forms of Internet gambling in the United States.
Paul, an ophthalmologist, is the son of former Representative Ron Paul, who twice made unsuccessful bids for the GOP presidential nomination. He was elected to the Senate in 2010. Ron Paul did not speak at Rand’s first campaign event, suggesting to some pundits that he may want to distance his campaign from those of his father.
In his campaign, Paul is looking to attract a broad coalition of Republican voters: while libertarians will make up a substantial portion of his base, he is also attempting to attract younger voters and minority voters who may not have recently voted for Republican candidates.
At the moment, pools show Paul in the middle of a viable second tier of candidates behind two early frontrunners: Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida.