Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Maryland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Rand Paul on Tuesday officially announced on his website that he will run for U.S. president in 2016, hours before an event in his home state of Kentucky where he is expected to formally launch the campaign.

“I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” he said in a posting at http://www.randpaul.com.