Faltering Rand Paul campaign gets another blow

Rand Paul’s sputtering presidential campaign raised about $2.5 million in the last quarter, well below the previous quarter and far behind some of his Republican rivals.

The U.S. senator from Kentucky is far behind retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, whose campaign said it raised around $20 million during the same period. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, is also expected to report a double digit total.

The latest Paul number is well below the $7 million he took in from April through June, and reflects his sagging standing in recent polls. He has 2.3 percent support in the latest RealClearPolitics.com Sept. 17-28 poll average. That gets him a 10th place showing, and could jeopardize his standing in the next Republican debate.

CNBC, which hosts the October 28 debate, has said candidates must average at least 2.5 percent in a series of polls to qualify for the main event. Anyone else polling at least 1 percent in one of the surveys can participate in an earlier debate.

Campaigns officials said they are proceeding with long term plans. “Our campaign is in for the long haul and Sen. Paul’s message of limited government and individual liberty will continue to resonate with primary voters,” Sergio Gor, communications director, told the Wall Street Journal.

Paul is up for re-election to the Senate in 2016, and Sam Youngman of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that national chatter is that Paul is being pressured to leave the White House race to concentrate on the Senate effort.

David Lightman: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid