“I don’t see how anyone could say it’s not possible he’d win the nomination”

The shift follows a year in which the Kentucky senator has barnstormed the country, trying to expand the party’s base beyond older, white voters and attract a following beyond than the libertarian devotees of his father, Ron Paul. Although the job is far from complete, Paul has made undeniable progress, judging from interviews with more than 30 Republican National Committee members meeting here this week.

That he has struck a chord with this crowd is all the more telling because it is heavy with GOP establishment-types who tend to prefer mainstream candidates…

“He’s a mainstream candidate,” Martin said. “A big question for 2016 is who can draw new people in. Rand has an attraction … My wife’s not a political person, but she likes Rand a lot.”…

“We had some folks that are categorized as ‘establishment’ or whatever, who told me that if Rand Paul could speak at every convention, I think everyone would see him as a mainstream guy,” Maine national committeeman Alex Willette said.