Republicans have been ratcheting up their efforts to win-over the new money elites of the tech boom. The latest move comes from Senator Rand Paul, who announced he's opening an office in the Bay Area—fueling speculation that he's planning to run for president in 2016 and plans to use technolibertarians as his personal piggy bank.
The Kentucky senator made his plans public in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle following his speech at state's Republican fall convention. According to Paul, his team is already "in the process" of setting up shop in the region.
Paul said he expects to come to the region "fairly often," and the area makes plenty of sense for a base: "There's a lot of smart people in Silicon Valley, and we want to use their brains to figure out how to win."
It's not just their brains he's after. In the interview, Paul offered a cagey hint that he has lined up endorsements from at least one billionaire thought leader, which could help the Senator win votes from the good ol' boys of Hacker News.
Pressed on whether he'll get support from libertarian Silicon Valley luminaries like Peter Thiel, the billionaire PayPal co-founder, Paul said, "I'm friends with Peter, but we don't have a specific announcement on that."
But "we may soon," he added.
It's unusual for Republican presidential hopefuls to think about California so soon in the drawn-out election process. As The Wire points out, candidates generally focus on momentum-building states like Iowa and New Hampshire, which vote early in the primary process. But thanks to the "changing demographics" of the region—code for "becoming increasingly wealthy"—one political analyst told the Chronicle that the Bay Area is now home to some of "the least loyal Democrats" in the country, and Paul can win their votes. And money.