Calling Ron Paul's supporters enthusiastic is an understatement. When the libertarian Republican lawmaker from Texas ran in the recent presidential election, his fans swarmed the Internet, created a "Hotties for Ron Paul" pinup calendar, and even got him a blimp. So it's no wonder that one of Paul's sons caught the politics bug as well. Rand Paul announced this week that he is entering the race to replace Sen. Jim Bunning, a Kentucky Republican who is retiring.
Ron Paul was on daddy duty when he heard his son's plans. "I said, 'Are you sure you want to do this? You want to give up a completely good medical practice to go into politics?' " Ron Paul tells Whispers. "Of course, I was kidding him because I didn't have any credibility on that argument," the congressman adds. Rand, a doctor like his dad, tells the story this way: "I guess his best advice was, 'Be careful. You could possibly win.' "
Rand is considered a long shot, most likely battling Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson among others in the Republican primary and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic favorite, in the general. "We're hoping that they will be quite overconfident and not think that we're a threat and we'll sneak up on them," says Rand. The "we" includes many of the online activists who helped his father: They've already scheduled a "money bomb" for Rand on August 20 in honor of Ron Paul's birthday. Money bombs—when supporters arranged a date for a mass donation online—were a hit during the elder Paul's presidential run. Rand is open to recycling other ideas, too. "We love the idea of the blimp," he tells us. "They can bring the blimp back, by all means."
Rand says nobody's son can win political office simply on a parent's fame. "I think I have enough of my own credibility," he says. And his dad agrees. "He's been involved with political things for a long time," says Ron Paul. "I think he's going to be a lot better than I am at it because I think he's more reasonable," the congressman says with a chuckle.