At least one of the Senate's 2016 contenders is bailing on the big House-Senate Republican conference gathering next week in Hershey, Pa.
An aide to Sen. Rand Paul confirmed the Kentucky Republican would not attend the retreat — the first joint gathering of the majorities on both sides of the Rotunda.
CQ Roll Call asked the Paul aide about a report the senator would be traveling to New Hampshire, Arizona and Nevada the second half of next week (including time that overlaps with the congressional retreat). The aide emphasized in an email the senator's schedule would not require him to miss any business at the Capitol itself. "Sen. Paul was elected to represent Kentucky in the Senate. He will not be missing any Senate votes or committee business next week," the aide said.
Still, the scheduling conflicts highlight an emerging challenge for the new Senate majority, as several senators, including Paul, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, are considering presidential bids.
Cruz is scheduled to attend the retreat, an aide told CQ Roll Call. Rubio's office did not immediate respond to a request about his plans.
Plans for the joint retreat between Republicans in the two chambers were publicly confirmed at the beginning of December .
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