NAPLES, Florida — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a contender for the 2016 GOP nomination, flexed his potential presidential campaign muscles during a trip here this weekend—showing off his pull with grassroots voters and his ability to win over donors.
After arriving late Friday night after a speech in Montgomery, Alabama—Paul was the keynote before the Alabama GOP’s annual winter dinner—Paul on Saturday morning kicked off his day by holding a roundtable discussion with local doctors about healthcare policy.
“I think it’s very helpful to have someone familiar with healthcare here both inside the beltway and outside the beltway,” Dr. W.G. Eshbaugh, a reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgeon from the Naples area said. “He’s had a private practice and is able to articulate many of the challenges we face. It was a real pleasure to have that discussion with him.”
Eshbaugh was a year behind Paul at Duke Medical School—where Paul studied to become an ophthalmologist. Paul and his wife Kelly then moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where Paul practiced for more than a decade before he scored a surprising Senate primary win against the Mitch McConnell-backed Trey Grayson in 2010. As a U.S. Senator, he’s now one of the leading Republicans—along with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—potentially vying for the GOP nomination in 2016.
Sergio Gor, Paul’s energetic communications director, explained to Breitbart News that Paul plans to highlight the fact he is a doctor on the campaign trail, and Paul has frequently held such roundtable type meetings with doctors nationwide on many occasions.
“Part of Sen. Paul’s appeal both inside of politics and outside of politics is he was a doctor and surgeon for so many years,” Gor told Breitbart News as Paul wrapped up the meeting.
So you’re able to get a lot of doctors and surgeons from all over the country who are interested whether it’s their first time [meeting with a politician] or they’re regularly politically involved. You get a lot of doctors upset about Obamacare, about new regulations from Washington.
While everyone can be against Obamacare, doctors understand the exact intricacies and the small details that someone like Dr. Pa