Tags: 2016 Elections | Rand Paul | Rand Paul | Iowa | president

Rand Paul Laying Groundwork for 2016 With Iowa Trip

Image: Rand Paul Laying Groundwork for 2016 With Iowa Trip (Jay LaPrete/Stringer/Getty Images)

By Jennifer G. Hickey   |   Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 01:04 PM

In what many see as a sign of his intent to run for the Republican presidential nomination, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky will begin August on a three-day tour of the Iowa, according to a schedule released Tuesday by his political action committee, RANDPAC.

The political action committee also announced the hiring of Michigan strategist John Yob to serve as its national political director. Currently the head of Michigan-based Strategic National Consulting, Yob previously worked for the campaigns of Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Rick Santorum in 2008 and 2012.

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In accepting the position, Yob said, "The Republican Party is going to need to learn how to reach out to nontraditional Republican groups in order to win a national election again given the changing demographics in a post-Obama era. Sen. Paul has the ability to inspire a new generation of conservatives, libertarians, and disaffected Democrats in states across the country. I am proud to join the team and look forward to building the strongest political operation in America."

Paul might be wise to get an early start in courting Hawkeye State voters, considering he trails former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Jeb Bush of Florida. According to the latest Real Clear Politics polling average, Paul ranks fourth with 10 percent of GOP primary voters in Iowa. Paul lags slightly behind Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

While Paul has ground to gain in Iowa, he leads his Republican counterparts nationwide in the Real Clear Politics average.

Paul also makes a strong showing in the latest Fox News poll, coming in a close third with 11 percent of the vote, just behind the 12 percent earned by Bush and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

In a general election match-up against potential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Paul would lose by 11 points, but he does much better among independents. In a face-off with Clinton, Paul would win by 5 points.

In an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity," Paul said he would continue to reach out to minority constituencies.

"I want to compete for the African-American vote by saying, 'You know what, Republicans have policies to help with poverty, to help with long-term unemployment," Paul told guest host Eric Bolling.

He added that African-American voters respond particularly well to his efforts on criminal justice reform, which was the focus of a July 22 column he authored for WCPO-Cincinnati.

Paul argued that the system needs reform because currently it places "a premium on punishment for nonviolent crimes and placed a lower priority on helping ex-offenders reintegrate into society. The impact of a criminal record on an individual's life is vast; everything from the right to vote to finding a job can be affected."

He then noted his co-sponsorship with Democrat New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker on "solutions that will fix America's broken criminal justice system, save taxpayer dollars, boost our economy, and help to address the deeply damaging racial and socio-economic disparities that have multiplied in our system over recent decades."

His op-ed previewed topics he addressed in his July 25 address to the National Urban League conference, which was held in Cincinnati.

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