Photos: The road to Rand Paul's run for president

  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), addresses a group of supporters during a rally in Lexington in support of Mitch McConnell, Nov. 3, 2014.
  • U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) leaves Murphy’s Diner after speaking to a group of state legislators in Manchester, New Hampshire, Jan. 14, 2015.
  • U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (L), and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NV) (R) listen during a news conference on Syria,June 27, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. 
  • U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., left, talks to fans during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Iowa State and Texas Tech, Feb. 7, 2015, in Ames, Iowa.
  • U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) at a meeting of the 4th Congressional District Republican Party in Covington, KY on July 25, 2014.
  • From left, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., arrive for their news conference on the federal budget on March 17, 2011. 
  • In this Jan. 16, 2015 photo, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.speaks with people at a restaurant in Las Vegas. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio seems to be moving toward a bid for the Republicans’ presidential nomination, and late Sunday he joins Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky for an audience with the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.
  • Rand Paul (R), the Republican candidate for the Kentucky U.S. Senate seat, and his wife, Kelley, and son, Robert, leave a campaign rally on Nov. 1, 2010 in Bowling Green, Ky. Republican nominee for U.S. Senator Rand Paul is running for the seat against Democratic candidate Jack Conway.
  • U.S. Senator Rand Paul departs after a photo opportunity where he invited fellow legislators to have coffee on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the government shutdown in Washington, Oct. 3, 2013. A U.S. government shutdown entered its third day on Thursday with little sign of compromise between Republicans and Democrats and concerns grew about the economic consequences of a prolonged stalemate. 
  • U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) at a meeting of the 4th Congressional District Republican Party in Covington, Ky. on July 25, 2014.
  • U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (L) talks to his father Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) (R) during a news conference June 22, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A number of Republican congressional members joined The Cut, Cap, Balance Pledge Coalition at the news conference “to oppose any debt ceiling increase unless a ‘Cut, Cap and Balance’ plan is passed.”
  • Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., walks to a waiting vehicle as he leaves the Capitol after his filibuster of the nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director on Capitol Hill in Washington, early March 7, 2013. Senate Democrats pushed Wednesday for speedy confirmation of John Brennan’s nomination to be CIA director but ran into a snag after Paul began a lengthy speech over the legality of potential drone strikes on U.S. soil. But Paul stalled the chamber to start what he called a filibuster of Brennan’s nomination. 

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LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday announced on his campaign website that he will run for president in 2016.

“I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” he wrote on randpaul.com.

Paul will formally announce his campaign in Louisville before embarking on a tour through four of the early primary states: first New Hampshire, then South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada.

Paul is selling himself as a different sort of Republican candidate. But do his libertarian roots and biography make him so different from the mainstream of the GOP that he’s incapable of winning the White House?

That’s the question he’ll have to start to answer on Tuesday as he launches his presidential campaign, just five years after being elected to the Senate from Kentucky in 2010. 

“On April 7, a different kind of Republican will take on Washington,” his announcement video reads. As it closes, supporters chant, “President Paul!” in the background.

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

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