Rand Paul's 'Long Haul' Cut Short

Things didn't go the way Paul might have hoped as he pursued his presidential aspirations. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, maybe the necessities of a modern presidential campaign were just a bit too much.  

A former strategist for the Republican said while Paul's drive to become president was never in question, the first-term senator's national ambition "clashed against his personality – his prickliness, not wanting to do certain things and not being comfortable" with everything from making the ask on the fundraising circuit to what is asked of a candidate in this digital age. That was on public display one day last October, when Paul's campaign aired an entire day of his life on the road on the Internet. During a stop in Iowa at a fast-food joint, Paul answered negative questions about himself, demurring to the camera that he was just doing what his advisers told him to do – "riding around Iowa, looking at cornfields and answering silly questions."  

Rand Paul Suspends Presidential Campaign

Rev. Robert Johnson talks to Paul, R-Ky. at a campaign stop at Platinum Kutz barber shop in Des Moines ahead of the Iowa Caucuses. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday that he will suspend his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, opting to focus instead on his on his re-election effort this year.

The announcement came two days after the libertarian-leaning senator finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses with just 4.5 percent of the vote, well behind the two other senators in the race who have gained much more traction, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. 

Rand Paul Finally Gets Senate Challenger in Lexington's Mayor

Paul, who is seeking re-election while embarking on a long-shot presidential bid, finally got a Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 2:10 p.m. | Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington, Ky., filed paperwork on Tuesday declaring his candidacy for Senate — a last-minute move by a man viewed by most Kentucky Democrats as the party's hope to take on Republican Sen. Rand Paul for re-election this fall.  

"Every voter expects an option," he told Roll Call in an interview. "I know it’s tough and I have no illusions of this race. But I hear from people from all across our city and state who are hungry for change."  His candidacy — in the works for months, but made official on the very last day of candidate filing in the Bluegrass State — comes just a few months after Democrats there lost all but two statewide elections that swept away the chances of their first choice candidate to challenge Paul, former Auditor of Public Accounts Adam Edelen.  

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Democrats are going all-in to try to beat Illinois Republican Kirk. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The script has most definitely been flipped  on Senate battlegrounds in 2016.  

This cycle, Republicans take nine of the 10 spots on Roll Call's list of the most vulnerable senators. That's a marked turn from 2014 , when there were nine Democrats and one Republican.  

Kentucky Democrats Reassess Race Against Rand Paul

If his presidential bid is unsuccessful, Paul is expected to run for re-election next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Only one Democrat represents Kentucky in the House, and not since 1998 has the state been represented by one in the Senate. Still, the party thought it could run a competitive race for the Senate seat next year.  

But after big losses in Tuesday's elections, hopes for challenging Republicans in next year's Senate race are suddenly dimmer.  Adam Edelen, Kentucky's auditor of public accounts, had been viewed as  a possible candidate in that race. That was until he lost his re-election bid in an upset Tuesday.  

Judge Drops Multiple Charges Against Jesse Benton

Paul addresses a crowd of supporters at the University of South Florida Sun Dome in Tampa, before the start of the 2012 Republican National Convention. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A federal judge in Iowa has tossed most of the charges against longtime Paul family advisers Jesse Benton and John Tate.  

The case involves alleged misconduct in which associates of 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas were said to have made improper payments to Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson, who switched his endorsement from then-Paul rival Rep. Michele Bachmann.  

Paul's Stagnant Presidential Campaign Causes Concerns for Senate Race

Paul is spending time, money and attention outside of Kentucky, prompting concerns by some that he is giving Democrats an edge. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul got a rare show of support for his presidential campaign this week with the endorsement of Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.  

Mulvaney — the only member of the early primary state’s congressional delegation to endorse in the race so far — lent his endorsement Monday at a time when polling continues to suggest Paul is struggling to gain traction, leading to questions from the political class in Washington and Frankfort about the viability of his candidacy in the crowded field to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.  

Rand Paul Makes First Payment on Kentucky Caucus

Paul will spend the weekend convincing Republicans to allow him a back-up if the presidency doesn't work out. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just hours before a Friday deadline, the Republican Party of Kentucky received all of the $250,000 Sen. Rand Paul Pledged to raise by then – half of the required amount to pay for a caucus that will allow him to compete for both the state’s presidential delegates and re-election next year.  

"The conditions have been met for the Republican Party of Kentucky to move forward with a presidential caucus in 2016," Chairman Steve Robertson said in a statement. "We would like to thank Senator Paul for his effort and due diligence in working to ensure that Republicans across Kentucky will now have an early and relevant say in the 2016 presidential primary process."  

For Rand Paul, a Kentucky Caucus Is a Major Victory

Republicans in the Bluegrass State will allow Rand Paul to both seek reelection and run for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Kentucky Republicans voted Saturday to approve a presidential caucus – a major victory for Sen. Rand Paul that will allow him to continue his quest for the Republican presidential nomination and run for re-election to the Senate next year.  

The Kentucky Republican Party Central Committee approved the March 5 caucus by a 111-36 vote, with the caveat that Paul must put up half of the nearly $500,000 he promised to pay for it by Sept. 18.  

Some in Kentucky Wary of Rand Paul's Senate Insurance Plan

Republicans in Paul's home state tell the presidential hopeful that if he wants a caucus, he'll have to pay for it. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been campaigning for the Republican nomination for president, his supporters back home have been quietly wrangling the state party to get him an expensive insurance package that could possibly let him fall back on his seat if his upward ambitions are not successful.  

The problem? Insurance policies are pricy, and to some on the Kentucky Republican Central Committee, the premium for Paul’s — in the form of a caucus system that would allow him to go around the rules against being on the same primary ballot for two different offices — seems pretty high.