POLITICO: Vincent Harris Quoted on Rand Paul Austin Office
January 21, 2015
By Katie Glueck
Sen. Rand Paul is planning to open a political office in Austin, tapping into Texas technology talent ahead of a likely presidential bid.
The space is slated to open in spring or early summer, said Doug Stafford, Paul’s chief political adviser. The Kentucky Republican is also opening a Silicon Valley office in the coming months.
Austin is a rare haven for liberals in deep-red Texas, but it’s also a hot spot for start-ups and technology companies. The libertarian-leaning Paul has made overtures to the technology community — even in California’s progressive Bay Area — as he prepares for a 2016 campaign.
“Our intention is to crowd source many things — innovations, applications, volunteer efforts on the digital and political side,” Stafford said in an email. “Austin has a lot of supporters and a lot of talent, and we plan to take advantage of both and have a Team Rand hub there.”
Vincent Harris, the digital strategist for Paul’s political arm, RANDPAC, is based in Austin, which he referred to as “Silicon Hills.”
The city “has energetic, supportive, creative talent,” Harris said. “There’s a large, active, liberty crowd. Since coming on board, we’ve had smart people literally just show up at my company’s office wanting to get involved, it will be a place to channel them.”
The Lone Star State will loom large in the 2016 GOP primary. Rand Paul and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush grew up in Texas. They, along with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, all are expected to run for the White House.
“We want to attract the best talent possible to help motivate the largest amount of people possible, and Austin’s market will allow the senator to do that,” Harris said.
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