Sen. Rand Paul already has people working for him, presumably for a run for president in 2016, in all 50 states. A swing state? Rand Paul is there. A ruby red, late primary state where it's kind of pointless to start campaigning in now? Rand Paul is there. Paul's attempt to be the candidate who owns every state the light touches early on is, according to the Washington Post, his high-profile way of trying to prove to the Republican establishment — along with the money that funds establishment-approve runs for office — that he can build a campaign beyond his libertarian base.
Members of his 200-strong national network (called Rand Paul Victory, which raised $4.4 million last year) include former establishment donors alongside the libertarian backers you'd to expect to see working with Paul. And, he's been courting Wall Street and Silicon Valley money, just like any good potential candidate would.
The Kentucky senator's campaign hinted that it had a 50-state team in an interview with the New York Times last week. That piece suggested that organizationally, Paul wasn't quite ready for prime time. Here's one example:
His efforts to build a political organization also have gotten off to a halting start. Mr. Paul’s aides interviewed a well-regarded Republican operative named Dorinda Moss, who had served as the finance director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. But she eventually went to work for Mr. Rubio, in part because Mr. Paul never got around to offering her a job.
As another aide put it at the time, Paul doesn't yet have a fundraising "Alxelrod" in his corner, like Barack Obama did for his ascendency from the senate up to the White House. But the Post's update on Paul's campaign indicates that he might not need one, at least not yet. Even Axlerod himself responded with the curious statement, “David Axelrod wasn’t David Axelrod until he was." So maybe one of Paul's not-Axelrods will turn out to be an Axelrod in the rough.
Speaking of which, Paul isn't the only GOP hopeful trying to snag some big donors this spring. Today is the start of the Republican Jewish Coalition's "spring leadership meeting." Don't know what that is? All you need to know is one name: Sheldon Adelson, the mega-donor to GOP candidates. This year's spring meeting is already being called "the Sheldon primary," because a bunch of potential candidates are making an appearance in large part to win over Adelson, as the AP reports. Those hopefuls include Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.