The next presidential election is two years away, but Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul’s visit to Maine on Saturday is being considered perhaps his most important so far in his potential 2016 White House bid.
The Maine Republican Party has been plagued by infighting since libertarian activists loyal to Paul’s father — former GOP presidential candidate and Texas Rep. Ron Paul — seized control of it in 2012.
The activists took over the state convention and elected a majority slate of delegates for Paul.
However, establishment Republicans challenged the move, and the national committee voted to replace half of Maine’s delegates for Paul with supporters of Mitt Romney, the party’s presidential nominee.
In Maine, Paul is trying to strengthen his appeal beyond his father’s passionate supporters to prove he can be a credible national candidate.
And he hopes to promote further party unity ahead of the November re-election test for GOP Gov. Paul LePage, considered one of most endangered Republican governors in the nation. LePage rode Tea Party support to victory in 2010.
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