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After a fifth place showing in the Iowa caucuses, Kentucky Sen. Rand Pauldropped out of the Republican presidential campaign on Wednesday and set his eyes on winning re-election to the U.S. Senate.

The development raised a question about which candidate will swoop up Paul’s ardent supporters in the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. Paul won 4.5 percent of the vote in Iowa.

Grand Rapids-based GOP consultant John Yob, who served as Paul’s national political director, said Wednesday that Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio should not be considered by Paul supporters.

“Liberty-leaning voters have good options but will reject Marco Rubio because of his spending policies that would bankrupt the country and his ever changing positions on important issues,” Yob said in a statement to The Detroit News.

Yob suggested Paul voters should hold out and see how the remaining field of candidates shakes out.

“There is time to decide because there is a long road to the nomination that will likely culminate in a contested national convention in Cleveland for the first time in a very long time,” said Yob, who specializes in political convention maneuvering.

In a Facebook post about Paul’s departure from the race, he said he’s getting a lot of questions about whom he will support instead.

“Those decisions are best left for another day,” Yob wrote.

Carson continues WH race

Dr. Ben Carson is making it clear to his Republican presidential opponents that he has no plans to go home after finishing fourth in the Iowa caucuses with about 9 percent of the vote.

The Detroit native and retired neurosurgeon appears more motivated than ever to keep running for president after supporters of Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz told voters at Iowa Caucus meetings Monday night that he had dropped out.

Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King, national co-chairman of Cruz’s campaign, was among a group of Cruz supporters in Iowa who disseminated the inaccurate information just as the caucus meetings were getting under way.

“Carson, looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote,” King tweeted at 7:20 p.m. local time. “Most will go to Cruz, I hope.”

Political analysts in Iowa predicted before Monday’s caucuses that Cruz needed to pick off evangelical Christian voters from Carson’s base of support to win.

The self-described “cerebral” Carson was incensed Monday night after learning that Cruz supporters were spreading caucus room rumors about him dropping out.

“I just want you to know, I’m not going anywhere,” Carson told supporters in a speech. “This latest set of dirty tricks just intensifies my desire to work extremely hard to break down the ugliness in the system and bring it back to we the people.”

John Philip Sousa IV, chairman of the 2016 Committee, the super political action committee supporting Carson’s candidacy, called the rumors of Carson quitting “old Nixon filthy politics.”

“If he wasn’t hell bent on continuing this campaign, after what Ted Cruz did last night, he’s in it for the long haul,” Sousa told The Detroit News on Tuesday.

Cruz publicly apologized for the actions of his supporters.

“As a Christian, I will accept an apology. But it doesn’t correct the problem,” Carson said Tuesday on CNN.

Carson said the misinformation campaign backfired in one Iowa precinct his wife Candy Carson visited.

“We actually won in that precinct,” Carson said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends.”

Reid talks Flint, Snyder

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid took the Senate floor Tuesday to highlight the Flint water crisis and urge that Republicans join Democrats in backing a $600 million plan by Michigan’s two senators.

While reciting the well-known facts about Flint’s lead-contaminated water and the Snyder administration’s slow response, the Nevada Democrat made a couple of surprising accusations about Gov. Rick Snyder, who has admitted the state Department of Environmental Quality made a huge error in failing to recommend that corrosion controls be added to river water in Flint.

“Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan, is one of those who berates government all of the time,” Reid said, setting up his argument that he is part of a Republican anti-government movement.

“He denigrates government every single chance he gets,” the 76-year-old senator said later. “But to whom does he turn when the state of Michigan is in trouble? The federal government.”

Reid’s characterizations came as news to John Truscott, president of the Lansing-based Truscott Rossman public relations firm and former spokesman for three-term GOP Gov. John Engler.

“I think that this shows he is a senator who is ill-informed and out of touch with reality,” Truscott said Wednesday about Reid.

Snyder sought federal disaster aid for the August 2014 flooding in Metro Detroit.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard Gov. Snyder denigrate government,” Truscott said, “or government employees for that matter.”

Contributors: Chad Livengood and Richard Burr

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