- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul, a likely 2016 presidential contender, plans to travel to North Carolina next week to rally support for state House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is trailing Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan in the state’s high-profile Senate race.

Mr. Paul’s political action committee, RANDPAC, announced Wednesday that the stop will be part of a two-day swing — Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 — through the Carolinas that will include events for the South Carolina GOP and for Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. of North Carolina.

Mr. Paul’s appearance on behalf of Mr. Tillis comes after the Kentucky Republican backed Mr. Tillis’ rival, Greg Brannon, in the GOP Senate primary earlier this year.

Mr. Tillis went on to win 47 percent of the vote, compared to 27.1 percent for Mr. Bannon in a race that featured multiple candidates.

Republicans need to pick up a net of six seats to flip control of the Senate and the race in North Carolina could be pivotal in those efforts.

South Carolina traditionally hosts the third stop in the GOP presidential race. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won the state in the 2012 Republican nomination race.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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