U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) will be a surprise guest at a private political meeting in Charleston, S.C. on Monday – fueling speculation that the son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul may take his father’s place in the 2012 GOP presidential primary.
The younger Paul will be in the South Carolina Lowcountry next week to address the “Charleston Meeting,” a Republican gathering organized last year by GOP activist and fundraiser Mallory Factor. Our founding editor Will Folks attended the January meeting of this organization as an invited guest.
Michael Smith – a co-founder of the “Charleston Meeting” – declined to confirm or deny Paul’s visit (citing the organization’s confidentiality policy) but we have heard from multiple sources that the 48-year-old freshman U.S. Senator will be addressing the group. Paul will also reportedly attend a reception in Charleston, S.C. with U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who sources say is also scheduled to speak Monday evening at the “Charleston Meeting.”
Should Ron Paul decline to seek the presidency in 2012, his son has indicated that he would consider mounting a bid.
That interest may manifest itself sooner rather than later …
In addition to Rand Paul’s trip to the Palmetto state next week, we’re also hearing that a new grassroots group affiliated with one of the nation’s largest Tea Party organization is being formed in Charleston. A source familiar with the creation of this group says that one of its primary objectives will be to assist Sen. Paul in the “First in the South” presidential primary should he decide to enter the race.
Incidentally, sources familiar with S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley‘s schedule next week expressed their surprise that the governor – who branded herself as the leader of the Tea Party movement during her 2010 campaign – will not be attending Monday’s gathering.