By Lily Rothman
April 7, 2015

With Rand Paul set to officially announce his campaign for President on Tuesday, the day will mark just how fast his political rise has been. A mere five years ago, he was an outside candidate, an underdog eye doctor running for office for the very first time.

But, while campaigning for a Kentucky Senate seat, he showed that he was serious — and also that he had a lot to learn about appealing to voters outside his core supporter group. As TIME explained in 2010:

But he quickly learned from the mistake, walking back (sort of) his statement about integration and demonstrating that, as TIME put it in that initial story, “he understands that politics sometimes trumps principle.”

As a 2013 TIME profile of the no-longer-new politician, at that point already discussed as a presidential contender, made clear, he was cultivating a broader appeal — something he’ll need in the run up to 2016. And that’s not the only thing about him that has evolved: at that point, when questioned about the possibility he might run, he scoffed, “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.”

Read the full 2013 profile, here in the TIME archives: The Rebel

 

Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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