March 18, 2015 / 9:01 PM / 4 years ago

Republican Rand Paul to enter 2016 presidential race next month: report

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 27, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Rand Paul will declare his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on April 7, MSNBC reported, citing multiple sources inside the Kentucky lawmaker’s camp.

“This will be an official announcement, not an exploratory committee,” MSNBC quoted an unnamed source close to Paul as saying. The network said the announcement would take place in Louisville, Kentucky.

Paul would be the first major candidate to formally jump into next year’s White House race. Republican Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, has set up a committee to explore a possible 2016 candidacy.

Other potential Republican candidates include U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. senator and secretary of state, is expected to enter the race in the next few months as a strong favorite.

Paul, the 52-year son of former U.S. Republican Representative Ron Paul of Texas, won a straw poll of conservative activists earlier this month. His libertarian views have gained backing from some conservatives but raised questions about his broader appeal within the Republican Party.

In the four days immediately after his announcement, the source told MSNBC, Paul will campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the four states that kick off the presidential nominating battle.

Reporting by Peter Cooney

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