Rand Paul tries to bind N.H. GOP, libertarians; can learn tough lessons from father

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History indicates the professor has a point.

Conservative candidates such as Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Patrick J. Buchanan in 1996 have won in New Hampshire, but voters usually back more mainstream candidates: George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992, Sen. John McCain in 2000 and 2008, and Mr. Romney in 2012.

Michael Dennehy, a local GOP consultant, thinks Mr. Paul’s independent style — not his libertarian views — could prove to be his biggest selling point with voters.

“I think it is yet to be seen how he could or would come across to New Hampshire voters, who scrutinize their candidates very carefully,” Mr. Dennehy said. “But I do think they would like his independence, as they have liked the independent-styled candidacies of John McCain and Pat Buchanan.”

Elected in the tea party wave of 2010, Mr. Paul has won headlines for leading a 13-hour filibuster against John O. Brennan’s nomination as CIA director, threatening to block the confirmation vote until the Obama administration clarified that it will not use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil.

He has pushed a spending plan, which the Democrat-controlled Senate dismissed, to balance the budget within five years, and has said he opposes a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. Like his father, he has cautioned against military adventurism and has been one of the most vocal opponents of tighter gun control laws in the wake of the mass shooting last year at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 students and six adults dead.

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