Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) waits before addressing a legislative luncheon held as part of the "Road to Majority" conference in Washington Jun. 18, 2015. 
Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

Rand Paul facing the question no candidate wants to hear

At an event last week, Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin (R) initially said he’d supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) presidential campaign, but with Walker out, Bevin now likes Ben Carson. A few hours later, the Kentucky Republican switched gears and said he’s actually backing Kentucky’s Rand Paul.
 
Evidently, Bevin forgot that his third choice is supposed to be his first.
 
And just a few days later, Bevin stood alongside his home-state ally for a campaign rally that the Lexington Herald-Leader described as “subdued.”
About 50 people came out on a rainy Saturday morning to see U.S. Sen. Rand Paul rally for Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin.
Hmm. A month before Kentucky voters choose a new governor, the Republican nominee joined Kentucky’s own presidential candidate – on a weekend – for a high-profile event. Just 50 people showed up?
 
The underwhelming turnout also came the same week as Rand Paul’s presidential campaign announced it raised about $2.5 million from July to September – a weak showing and a sharp drop-off from the $7 million the senator raised the quarter before.
 
Adding insult to injury, on Friday, American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive super PAC, reached out to contacts, letting them know that going forward, the super PAC will focus its attention on Paul as a vulnerable U.S. Senate candidate – as opposed to a competitive presidential candidate.
 
There’s arguably nothing more insulting than having one’s critics decide you’re just not that important anymore.
 
And making matters just a little worse, the GOP senator is hearing the one question no candidate wants to hear.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Fox News that he won’t be dropping out of the Republican presidential race anytime soon.
 
Said Paul: “I think the rumors of my demise are somewhat exaggerated, to say the least.”
Just two days earlier, Paul spoke to CBS and heard the same question, which he responded to roughly the same way. The headline read, “Rand Paul campaign insists it’s not folding tent.”
 
Even if we put aside whether or not Paul is answering the question well, the issue is the existence of the question itself: competitive candidates who are performing well aren’t asked when they’re quitting.
 
Once these questions start, it’s very hard to make them stop. Rand Paul, in other words, is not only struggling, he’s also facing circumstances that will make it very difficult to recover.
 
 

Kentucky, Matt Bevin and Rand Paul

Rand Paul facing the question no candidate wants to hear