Meet Rand Paul: Everything You Need To Know (And Probably Didn’t Know) About The 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate

PHOTO: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., dons Sen. Richard Blumenthals, D-Conn., University of Connecticut tie as part of a bet pay-off on the Senate steps, April 9, 2014.PlayTom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images
WATCH Rand Paul Enters Presidential Race, Offers His Vision for America

Name: Randal Howard “Rand” Paul

Party: Republican

What he does now: United States senator representing Kentucky. First elected in 2010, Paul sits on the Senate Foreign Relations, Education, Health, Homeland Security and Government Affairs committees, among others.

What he used to do: Practiced ophthalmology for 20 years before running for Senate. In recent years, he has performed pro bono eye surgeries in Kentucky and Guatemala.

Declared as a candidate: April 7, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.

In his own words: “We need to return to our founding principles, stand up for the entire Bill of Rights. Our future can include a road back to prosperity and back to respect home and abroad. It should include a balanced budget and a simple, fair tax system. A government that protects your rights and your security. It should include a stronger, better and more agile military.” (Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 27, 2015)

Family tree: Paul isn’t the first member of his family to run for president. His father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, also sought the office, not once but three times -- unsuccessfully. Paul has four siblings. He’s married to Kelley Ashby Paul, and has three sons.

How he met his wife: At a 1989 backyard oyster roast in Atlanta. Paul was smitten with Kelley’s “really killer outfit,” he told Vogue. Kelley, on the other hand, thought Paul looked “about eighteen.”

Potential baggage: His father’s brand of politics. Case and point: The same day the younger Paul discussed running for president with other candidates at the conservative Freedom Partners Forum in January 2015, his father delivered a speech on secession and dissolution of centralized governments at a libertarian conference in Houston.

Early political experience: Paul took a shine to the family business working on his father’s House and Senate campaigns in the 1970’s. His first taste of presidential politics reportedly came in 1976, when his father, then the head of Ronald Reagan’s Texas delegation, brought him to the Republican National Convention in Missouri.

Most memorable moment as a senator: In March 2013 Paul delivered a 12 hour filibuster of John Brennan’s confirmation as CIA Director to protest the Obama administration’s drone program.

Favorite band: Rush. But the members of the Canadian progressive rock group might not be Paul’s biggest fans. After he used their music in his 2010 Senate campaign ads and events, the band’s attorneys sent a cease-and-desist letter to his campaign.

What he was like in college: At Baylor University in Texas, “Randy” was an athlete and a prankster -- a member of the school swim team and a secret society called the “NoZe Brotherhood,” known for its satirical paper and campus hijinks. The future senator and his friends allegedly tried convincing one of Paul’s swim teammates to worship a fake deity called “Aqua Buddha,” his classmates told GQ and the New Yorker years later. Paul studied at Baylor for three years, but never graduated.

Might have wished for a do-over: Following the measles outbreak in early February 2015, Paul initially said vaccinations “ought to be voluntary.” Paul apparently felt enough blowback from his remarks to tweet a picture of himself getting vaccinated, and invite a New York Times reporter along to watch.

Fears: Heights and (professional) haircuts. On a 2013 trip to Israel, Paul climbed the mountain fortress Masada that overlooks the Dead Sea, but wouldn’t look over the edge. In 2011, Paul told The Hill that he cuts his own hair, though an aide said that the senator occasionally visits a professional barber.