On Tuesday, Paul will begin a five-state march, across a part of the country that will not hold primaries or caucuses until after 2016’s “Super Tuesday.” Paul will begin in Anchorage, Alaska, fly to Fairbanks, shoot down to Seattle, then go east to Spokane and the cities of western Idaho. On Thursday, he’ll speak at a Republican Party BBQ at the Idaho Falls home of GOP mega-donor Frank VanderSloot, who is best known for claiming that the IRS slapped him with audits after he donated to a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC. On Friday, Paul will campaign across Wyoming with Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), one of his earliest congressional endorsers. And Labrador will follow him down to Utah.
Why the West — and why now? It’s part of a strategy to build campaign networks early, taking advantage of the infrastructure and goodwill left by Paul’s father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Idaho will hold caucuses on March 8, and Alaska and Washington will vote together on March 26. (Utah and Wyoming have not locked in dates yet.) Ron Paul performed credibly in each of those states, with 24 percent in Alaska, 25 percent in Washington, and 18 percent in Idaho.
“Alaska has a tradition for having a libertarian bent,” Rand Paul explained in an interview last week. “Washington has a big liberty movement. I think there’s room for growth. They’re early caucuses, and we already have strong support out there, with the endorsements from Raul Labrador and Cynthia Lummis.”