| Virginia Tourism Corp.; RandPaul.com; WhiteHouse.gov

Rand Paul qualifies in Virginia

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul filed his petitions with the Republican Party of Virginia Thursday, becoming the eighth GOP candidate to qualify for Virginia's March 1 presidential primary ballot.

In a news release, Paul said he was "grateful to the volunteers and grassroots activists from the Commonwealth who support my candidacy and stand with me in defense of the entire Bill of Rights."

"By appearing on the Virginia ballot, we are one step closer to defeating the Washington Machine and unleashing the American Dream," Paul added.

In 2012, Paul's father, Rep. Ron Paul, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney were the only candidates to qualify for the GOP primary ballot.

Romney won the Old Dominion with 59.5 percent of the vote and picked up 43 convention delegates. Paul polled 40.5 percent of the vote and won in the state's 3rd Congressional District. He earned three delegates to the 2012 convention.

The younger Paul was elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 2010. He also must defend a senate seat next year.

One of Paul's senior campaign advisers is no stranger to Virginia politics.

Chris LaCivita was the chief political strategist for Ken Cuccinelli's unsuccessful 2013 gubernatorial campaign. LaCivita also served as a general consultant for then-Sen. George Allen's unsuccessful 2006 campaign against Jim Webb.

According to the RealClear Politics average of national polls on the presidential race, Paul is in 10th place with 2.3 percent. In the Nov. 16 University of Mary Washington poll, Paul had 4 percent support among likely Virginia Republican primary voters, tied for seventh place with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.