WASHINGTON, April 17 (UPI) -- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Wednesday he is considering a presidential run in 2016 because he wants "to be part of the national debate."
Paul, a favorite of Republican Tea Party voters, said he would make the decision next year on whether to run, The Hill reported. In the meantime, he plans to continue trips to critical Republican primary states with a visit to South Carolina planned this summer.
Paul's father, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, ran for the Republican nomination in 2008 and 2012. He attracted an enthusiastic group of followers and contributors but never became a serious contender.
The senator is less purely libertarian than his father but shares his support for decriminalizing drugs and his distaste for overseas military operations. He appeared to recognize that his chances of becoming the Republican nominee are slim.
"I want to be part of the national debate. Being considered is something that allows me to have a larger microphone," Paul said.