WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen.-elect Rand Paul, R-Ky., is among a small cadre of politically well-connected freshmen who raised large sums from donors who live outside the states the lawmakers were elected to represent.
Paul, the son of former presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, ranks second behind U.S. Rep.-elect Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, in individual contributions raised out of state, according to an analysis of federal campaign data by the Center for Responsive Politics.
During his campaign, Paul relied heavily on his father's donor base and well-organized Internet "money bombs" to rake in more than $1.4 million in individual contributions — 69 percent of which was raised outside the Bluegrass State as of mid-October.
Overall, Paul raised more than $6.7 million in his campaign to defeat Democrat Jack Conway, Kentucky's attorney general. Conway raised more than $4.9 million.
The familial connection also helped catapult Rand Paul into the national media spotlight.
"Rand Paul's father has a very loyal following. That somewhat was transferred over to his son," said Donald Gross, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky. "It's safe to say if he didn't have that last name and family connection he wouldn't be senator."
The largest share of Paul's out-of-state individual contributions, $202,754, came from Texas, home to his veteran lawmaker father. Lake Jackson, Texas, zip code 77566, where his father has a district office, ranked sixth out of the top 10 zip codes with donations to Paul, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis.
California and Florida, where fellow tea party favorite Marco Rubio will join Paul in the incoming freshman class, ranked second and third, respectively, in out-of-state donations for Paul.
Though the donations hail from across state lines, "these big-dollar donors stand to become ideological constituents" of Paul and his conservative brand of politics, the analysis found.
"There are two reasons you're going to give money," Gross said. "Either there's a sense of a quid pro quo because he represents a certain industry, or they're doing it for ideological congruence."