WASHINGTON (UPI) — Sen. Rand Paul has announced Wednesday he’s suspending his bid for the White House after a weak showing in the Iowa caucuses.
CNN broke the news, and Paul’s campaign staff confirmed the announcement with Politico.
The Kentucky senator is facing a challenger for his senate seat back home. Paul had filed to run for re-election in December, alongside his filing to appear on the Kentucky ballot as a presidential candidate. He’s the only senator running for president to have done so.
In January, Lexington, Ky., Mayor Jim Gray filed to run for Paul’s seat. While members of both parties have their eyes on the seat, Gray is the first prominent Democrat to challenge Paul. Gray is an openly gay business owner, and told the Lexington Herald Leader in January that his decision to run was partially inspired by Paul’s presidential campaign.
“I certainly think that he’s been spending more time focused on his presidential campaign than he has in the interests of Kentucky, and because of that he’s vulnerable,” he said.
Paul’s campaign has had the feel of the scrappy underdog, often challenging his disqualification from debates on the basis of low polling. His New Hampshire campaign headquarters was burglarized last week, and on top of that, he was unlikely to meet the polling threshold for the next GOP presidential debate — a debate with no undercard as a safety net.
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