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Republican Rand Paul announces bid for US presidency

Republican lawmaker Rand Paul has announced his bid to become the next US president. The Kentucky senator is expected to kick off his campaign in a few hours in his home state.

Paul announced his presidential run

in a message posted on his website

.

"I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government," the statement reads.

Paul, a favorite of the ultraconservative tea party movement, is the second fully declared Republican presidential candidate. Hardline Texas Senator Ted Cruz

announced his 2016 run for the White House in March

.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, respective son and brother of former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are expected to soon enter the Republican race.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney withdrew from a second run in January - reportedly after donors told him they planned to support Jeb Bush.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, has served his two permitted terms and cannot stand again. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is presumed to be the Democratic frontrunner, although she has not confirmed longstanding speculation that she would again seek the party's presidential nomination, after losing to Obama eight years ago.

jr/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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