U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, announced Tuesday morning he has formally filed for re-election for a third term in the U.S. Senate.
In an interview with the Daily News, Paul said he wants to remain in the Senate, but he hasn’t ruled out another presidential run in 2024.
“I think it’s too early to know that,” Paul said of any presidential possibilities. “The focus right now is on this race in 2022. I have no definite plans to or not to run for president.”
Paul said his priorities if elected to another term are to continue being “one of the lead voices of fiscal conservatism,” determining the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic and limiting wars in the world.
“The main reason that I got involved in politics is because I was worried government was getting too big, and I am still concerned about that,” Paul said. “It’s very important that we do not spend money we don’t have.
“We have also been very active in trying to get to the bottom of where this virus started,” he continued. “There is a lot of evidence suggesting it came from the lab in (China). If Republicans can take over the senate, we would have the ability to subpoena records that would indicate Dr. (Anthony) Fauci knew more about the origin of the virus and was covering it up.”
Paul then said if it’s proven COVID-19 originated in a lab, he wanted to make sure “it never happens again.”
While beginning his run for a third term, the senator also said he is still a strong advocate for term limits and will continue to do so — if they are for all members of government.
“I’m one of the original co-sponsors of the Constitutional amendment to establish term limits,” Paul said. “The only way I would support term limits is if everyone had them. Otherwise, Kentucky would be giving up its influence at the expense of the rest.”
Amid rising COVID-19 infections, Paul said he was against any kind of widespread mandates relating to the pandemic issued by the federal government.
“I think most medical decisions should be made between a patient and a doctor,” he said. “There needs to be a big public service announcement that there are treatments out there for COVID-19. Probably the best treatment would be to get monoclonal antibodies early on. The good news is Omicron, while very infectious, is not very deadly. Hopefully, the virus will mutate to a milder form. Then it will most likely stay with us forever.”
Another area of focus for Paul is to “work across the aisle” in limiting wars. Specifically, he wants to block any further arms deals with Saudi Arabia due to its conflict with Yemen.
“I just don’t think it’s a good idea to sell them any arms,” he said. “War should also be considered a last resort. It should be an all-out declaration by Congress.”
Paul’s likely Democratic challenger for his seat will be former state lawmaker Charles Booker, who filed paperwork on Nov. 3 to run in the Democratic primary.