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A new Zogby Analytics poll of likely Republican primary voters in 2016 shows Rand Paul starting to build a lead over better known – and more establishment – GOP figures. The poll of 282 likely and eligible voters in GOP presidential primaries was conducted June 27-29 and has a margin-of-sampling error of +/-6 percentage points.

In the poll, the junior Senator from Kentucky polls 20%, followed by “Establishment” candidates New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush with 13% each. In fourth place is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker with 8%, then Florida Senator Marco Rubio 7%, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl 4%, and New Mexico Governor Suzanna Martinez, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley all with 1% each.

This is the first time a GOP candidate has reached 20% in a crowded field and the first time a Zogby poll has shown someone emerging a bit from the pack. Obviously it is too early to predict outcomes or draw lasting conclusion but here are some points to consider.

So, what has Paul been up to lately? He is working in conjunction with Cory Booker on reforming the criminal justice system:

Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker are teaming up to push criminal justice reform through the Senate. Paul, the Republican senator and possible 2016 presidential candidate from Kentucky, and Booker, the Twitter-famous Democrat from New Jersey, are pushing the bill due to its focus on criminals’ lives after they leave prison. Both the first-term senators have been in the limelight since their election in 2012. If the bill, called the REDEEM Act, passes, it will restore welfare for low-level drug dealers who have completed their sentences and automatically expunge the records of juvenile criminals convicted of nonviolent offenses. It will also limit punishments such as solitary confinement for minors. Many senators are praising the bill for its focus on the rehabilitation of young criminals in an effort to keep them from becoming repeat offenders. Paul is also working on reforming drug sentencing laws and wants the government to lend a hand to past criminals looking for employment. Watch:


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