There has been a little back and forth over whether Rand Paul is the 2016 GOP frontrunner. Chris Cillizza argues Paul is in the drivers’ seat right now and is setting the agenda. However his colleague points out that Paul has some weaknesses, in particular foreign policy, that could cripple his campaign.
Given Paul’s place in the polls he is someone to pay attention to as the race unfolds. However, maybe a question that should be answered is does Paul want to be the frontrunner right now?
It is going to be a competitive long race for the GOP nomination. Being the frontrunner guarantees you will get the most media attention (and scrutiny) and also the most attacks from your opponents. Already Paul has had to deal with some controversy over hiring practices and a public feud with Chris Christie.
Keep in mind we are still two years from the Iowa Straw Poll and almost 30 months from the Iowa Caucuses. So Paul has a long way to go under and the scrutiny will only increase.
At this stage of the game maybe it is better to be flying under the radar. If you are not getting media scrutiny you can take time to build up your support network and peak at the right time. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum did this on their ways to winning the Iowa Caucuses.
The reality is that is not an option for Paul anymore. He will never be able to say he beat expectations. When you are the frontrunner or at least in the conversation at this point it is win or go home.
Paul will remain the media spotlight as long as he is a candidate. Guess we’ll find out if he can hold up under the pressure.