For anyone who doubted what was happening before their very eyes, the reality of Rand Paul 2016 becomes more and more clear, as per today's National Review:
Rand Paul's chief strategist is leaving his Senate post to run the Kentucky Republican's political shop.
Doug Stafford, who is widely seen as Paul's closest adviser, will soon resign as chief of staff to manage Paul's national political operation. Today's news is the clearest sign yet that Paul, a potential 2016 contender, is building a presidential campaign…..
Stafford will be focused on directing the senator's organization in early-primary states, his calendar, and his communications. He will also run Paul's political-action committees, which are expected to grow. Those groups — RAND PAC and Rand Paul for U.S. Senate — are the financial and political foundation for Paul's likely presidential campaign….
Paul has two upcoming trips to Iowa, a speech in New Hampshire on May 20, and a lecture at the Ronald Reagan presidential library on May 31. He's also planning events in South Carolina, among other states.
According to Capitol Hill insiders, Stafford, a 41-year-old New York native, told his staff today about his transition….
Managing Paul's post-filibuster fame–and widening out his appeal from the narrowly libertarian in a party still distressingly quick to run from libertarian ideas about foreign policy, civil liberties, the drug war, and even spending–will be an interesting more than full-time job for Stafford, to be sure.
I wrote in the New York Times in February about Rand Paul and the future of the GOP.