Presidential candidate Rand Paul campaigns in Pahrump

GOP presidential hopeful Rand Paul vowed to balance the budget and implement term limits for Congress during his Pahrump visit on Tuesday morning.

Paul, a U.S. Republican senator from Kentucky, is the first GOP presidential candidate in the 2016 campaign to visit Pahrump. The stop comes ahead of today’s GOP debate at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Paul was greeted by local officials and close to 100 supporters, many of whom held plaques that read “Unleash the American Dream” inside the the Bob Ruud Community Center.

During his speech, Paul, son of former U.S. Representative from Texas Ron Paul, declared himself “the only fiscal conservative” among a dozen Republican presidential candidates and called for cutting back on military and domestic spending, defending individual liberties, balancing the budget and implementing a 14.5 percent flat tax rate for businesses and individuals.

“The main point that I want to get across is that I’m the only fiscal conservative,” Paul told the Pahrump Valley Times. “If you are liberal on spending for the military, if you believe in an unlimited check, if you just support what’s going on in Washington today, which is busting the budget caps because you are a military hawk and you think they don’t get enough money, you are just as bad as the other side. You are just as liberal as the other side.”

Blaming both Democrats and Republicans for the current fiscal problems, Paul said that his government is going be “so small, you can barely see it.”

“Washington is so completely out of touch, so completely not communicating with the rest of you, that the only way I can ever fix it is term limits for all of them,” he said.

Pahrump resident Richard Bushart said Paul understood the sanctity of the American liberties and wanted to return government to its proper role.

“It’s kind amazing that he’d come all the way out here for us. We are just a small community compared to the national scene,” Bushart said.

Thomas Waters couldn’t say whether he would support Paul for president, but said that he can’t be “any worse” than other presidential candidates.

“I think Rand Paul is an outstanding senator, he is doing some great things. I like a lot of what he says. It doesn’t mean I’m going to support him for president, but I like a lot of things that he says and I wish others would pick up on this message.”

The GOP field is currently dominated by billionaire Donald Trump, who has 30.7 percent and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 22.6 percent as of Wednesday. Rand Paul’s support stands at 2.8 percent, according to the most recent data.

Paul criticized presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, adding that Clinton doesn’t offer the U.S. “an alternative to being involved perpetually in the foreign wars.”

“So, I try to concentrate more on my message and try to let the celebrity reality show unfold somewhere else. Just because it’s out there, doesn’t mean that I have to be part of it.”

The Republican caucus in Nevada will take place on Feb. 23.

“I think what we are finding and what we will find is this we are growing slowly but surely,” Paul said. “We have a very good ground game in Nevada. We think that the best chance for us is to energize the youth vote, we think young people don’t want the government looking at their phone records, we think the young people don’t want the government putting their friends in jail for marijuana, young people don’t want the government sending them to another war in Iraq. That is a unique message on the other side of the isle.”

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at Follow @dariasokolova77 on Twitter.

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