Paul has Nevada volunteers for presidential run

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who has a ready network of libertarian-minded supporters in Nevada, is gearing up for a possible presidential run with 2015 the target date to announce his plans.

He’s got a ready-made team of volunteers in Nevada, thanks to his father’s two White House bids and lingering loyalty. He’s expected to hire Nevada staff in 2015, a Silver State backer said Wednesday, when he’ll also release a book.

Paul, R-Ky., recently launched a political action committee, RandPAC, another sign he’s getting ready to run.

Paul has been staffing up in battleground states, with RandPAC hiring workers in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan. One of those hires, John Yob, a GOP consultant, will be Paul’s national political director and run the Michigan operation.

Yob has experience in Nevada as an adviser to Sharron Angle, a tea party Republican who lost to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid-D-Nev., in 2010 after she ran a flawed campaign and was tagged with the “extremist” label.

In Nevada, Paul’s got a lot of folks on the ground already, volunteering their time to spread what they call his “liberty message,” which boils down to smaller government and less interference in state policies by the feds.

Carl Bunce, the former Nevada director of Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns, said Wednesday he’s among those who are advocating for smaller government and setting the stage for a 2016 presidential contest — whether or not Paul runs.

A Republican close to the RandPAC said there’s no time frame for hiring staff in Nevada. But folks who helped his father’s long-shot campaign said the tentative plan is to staff up in the Silver State in 2015.

“I have been told no paid ground team in Nevada until 2015, if Senator Paul chooses to run for president,” Bunce said. “There are quite a few on the ground here promoting his ideals and helping grow potential support for 2016.”

Paul’s ready-to-go launch team in Nevada is thanks largely to his father, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who ran for president twice — in 2008 and 2012. He finished second behind Mitt Romney in 2008 in the Silver State, but U.S. Sen. John McCain, who came in third, went on to win the GOP presidential nomination.

In 2008, McCain lost to Barack Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois who became America’s first black president.

In 2012, Paul finished third in Nevada behind Romney, who won the GOP nomination, and after No. 2 Newt Gingrich. The former House speaker dropped out of the race, however, despite getting big money support from Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, who gave $15 million to Gingrich and a PAC that backed him during the campaign.

Rand Paul is seen as a serious contender. A new CNN/ORC International poll showed GOP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with the most support at 13 percent. Paul finished second at 12 percent, just ahead of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., at 11 percent each. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother and father were both president, finished with 8 percent support in the poll and was tied with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in fifth place.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.