Rand Paul: Presidential announcement likely in March, April

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U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said Friday that he is likely to announce whether he'll run for president in 2016 sometime in March or April from his home state of Kentucky.

The Republican told reporters after a speech in Louisville that he was getting closer to making a decision, but all signs point to Paul launching a campaign. Next month, he will ask the state Republican Party to create a presidential caucus in 2016. That way, Paul could run for president and re-election to his Senate seat simultaneously without appearing on the primary ballot for two offices, which is banned by Kentucky law.

"We haven't made a final plan on what we're going to do, but anything that I do, you know I'm from Kentucky, will be in Kentucky," Paul said. "We're getting closer. But it will probably be March/April timeframe."

Paul had a series of events in snow-covered Kentucky this week, including a speech to the Young Professionals Association of Louisville, where he announced he returned another $480,000 in unused office funds to the federal treasury, marking $1.8 million he has returned since taking office in 2011. Paul used the example to tout his legislation that would lower federal taxes in certain economically depressed areas, notably the west end area of Louisville, one of the city's poorest areas that has a mostly minority population.

"I have a proposal that would leave $600 million in the west end, not money we would send from anywhere, just simply the businesses that are already in the west end, don't tax them -- or lower their taxes dramatically," Paul said. "Democrats typically will tax you, and then they will give money to the west end. That's what they've been doing for 40 years."

Paul has made a major effort to appeal to black voters in the past year by co-sponsoring legislation with New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker that would end sentencing disparities for crack cocaine and restore the voting rights of some nonviolent convicted felons. Paul is scheduled to continue those themes Friday morning in a speech to Sullivan University.