Rand Paul made a visit to another unlikely state this week, continuing his strategy of frequenting areas that other presidential candidates write off.
Toward this end, Paul found himself in an Essex Junction barn in Vermont, talking to an enthusiastic crowd that so far has only had access to a presidential candidate who also happens to be their senator.
According to the Burlington Free Press, Republican National Committeewoman Susie Hudson introduced Paul at a fundraiser benefitting the Vermont GOP by saying, “Please join me in welcoming to Vermont a presidential candidate that is not Bernie Sanders,” to crowd applause.
Many observers felt that although Paul has dropped in polls nationally, he’s the type of candidate the party needs to be competitive. “Rand is the kind of Republican who can win in the Northeast,” said State Representative Paul Dame, who represents the area Paul visited.
Paul made his case for why a candidate who focuses on an inclusive message has broad appeal in a general election. As he explained to media prior to his speech, “If Republicans run the same kind of candidate that we’ve always run, at least in the last several cycles, they can’t compete in some of these areas.”
Paul repeatedly said that he’s a different kind of Republican, a tagline he has used to differentiate himself from frontrunners Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. He also focused on the fact that he has support among independent voters, young people, and minorities—groups key to winning the general election, especially in blue states like Vermont.
Paul made a constitutional argument to the Vermont crowd that has become a staple of his campaign. “If you like the Second Amendment, you’re not going to keep it unless you have the Fourth Amendment,” he said.
After Vermont, Paul continued his trip across New England, where he’ll be making stops in Maine and, of course, key presidential primary state New Hampshire.