(CNSNews.com) – The only firm commitment that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will make about the 2012 presidential race is that he won’t challenge his father Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) for the GOP nomination. But if his father doesn’t run, the son believes the tea party should be represented in the race.
“I’ve told people basically the only thing I’ve decided is that I would not run against my dad,” the younger Paul told CNSNews.com. “I figure that since he is my landlord, that’s the least I can do.”
Both Ron and Rand Paul are favorites of the tea party movement.
“I do want to be part of the process,” Rand Paul said. “If my dad shouldn’t run, I’ve told people that I will entertain the thought of running, because I think the tea party needs to have a voice at the table.”
The elder Paul fell short in his bid for the Republican nod in 2008, as the only candidate in his party opposed to the war in Iraq. However he came in fifth place, a better than expected showing, had strong fundraising numbers and drew large crowds at campaign rallies.
Since that time, Ron Paul, now 75, has developed a highly enthusiastic following and won several non-scientific straw polls of Republican presidential candidates, beating other big name candidates such as Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. One of the biggest annual GOP straw polls is that of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) poll, which Ron Paul won in both 2010 and 2011.
Meanwhile, Rand Paul is in the first year of his first term in the Senate, the first elected political office he has held. But he has an impressive electoral record defeating two statewide elected officials in primary and general elections in 2010.
Paul trounced Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the Republican primary despite Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s endorsement of Grayson. In November, Paul comfortably defeated Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.
Late last month, Paul told reporters after speaking at the Rotary Club in Louisville that it’s “pretty reasonable” that he or his father would run.
“I think there will be one on the ballot,” Paul told reporters. “I think there's a good chance of that.”
This month, Rand Paul was the keynote speaker in Des Moines, Iowa, the state that holds the first presidential caucus, at an event sponsored by the Iowa Republican Party titled “Night of the Rising Stars.”
“No matter who’s running, I do want to participate in some way or fashion, in determining who the nominee is,” Rand Paul told CNSNews.com. “If that means running personally or actually trying to help a candidate who I think can really articulate our message, I think that hasn’t been decided yet.”
CNSNews.com asked him if he has discussed the matter with his father.
“He hasn’t really indicated to me that he’s made his mind up,” Rand Paul said of his father. “I’ve just told people I’ve seen his schedule. He sure seems to be going to New Hampshire and Iowa a lot. So we’ll see what that indicates. But I think he’s telling people he’ll let them know in the next month or two. But I think it’s yet to be determined.”