Rand Paul is Candidates' Favorite Fund-Raising Draw

Sunday, 18 May 2014 07:01 PM

By Greg Richter

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Republican candidates seeking big-name help on the midterm campaign trail see Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul as the biggest "get," Politico reports.

Politico informally polled 25 Republican campaign managers across the country, and Paul's name was by far the most popular, the website reported.

Other possible 2016 presidential candidates on surrogate wish-lists include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who came in second despite the lingering Bridge-gate scandal surrounding his office. Despite the scandal, Christie is still able to bring in funds, Politico noted.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in next, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Paul is popular with young conservatives and libertarians because of his stands on privacy and Obama administration accountability. He also is able to get people to donate.

"Rand Paul has a lot of grass-roots energy he’s tapping into, the youth and kind of libertarian movement that other candidates just really haven’t grabbed a hold of yet, so that makes him kind of a unique, different choice that could inject some energy into the campaign," one campaign operative told Politico.

Paul is selective in whom he endorses, and he has seen mixed results. His appearance for North Carolina Senate candidate Greg Brannon failed to get Brannon into a runoff with establishment candidate Thom Tillis. But Curt Clawson was able to win the special primary in Florida’s 19th District with Rand Paul backing, and will likely win the general election.

Paul's appeal is nationwide, while Christie is popular in the Northeast and West. Christie is able to raise cash, while Walker's appeal is seen as a good balance between the base and the mainstream.

Walker is also popular in the South, where a large GOP field is battling to face Michelle Nunn, daughter of popular Democrat Sam Nunn, in a red state Senate race.

One southern Senate campaign source told Politico that Cruz is popular with the grassroots. Even though the base generally doesn't trust politicians, Cruz and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are two exceptions, the source said.

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