Kentucky US Sen. Rand Paul at March 19, 2021 Galt House event.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., attends a March 19, 2021, event at the Galt House in Louisville, Ky. (WDRB photo) 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sen. Rand Paul said he does not believe the man eyeing his position will win support throughout Kentucky. 

Charles Booker, a former state representative from west Louisville, said he is "strongly considering" challenging Paul for the U.S. Senate in 2022. On Monday, Booker announced that he's forming an exploratory committee, which allows the Democrat to poll, travel the state, make phone calls and fundraise while testing the waters without officially declaring himself as a candidate.

 Two days later, he tweeted, "Rand Paul is a joke."

Paul, however, told WDRB News on Wednesday he thinks Booker will find it "difficult to run on a platform of defunding the police." 

"I’ve been a longtime advocate of police reform a longtime advocate of criminal justice reform," said Paul, a Republican who lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky. "I think it's a step too far for most people in Kentucky to believe that that we really shouldn’t fund police or have police or that all police are racist, and I think, really, that's going to be a bridge too far for most people in Kentucky.”

Booker was front and center during the social justice marches following the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metro Police officers. The former state representative told WDRB News that he plans to use his social activism against Paul after his unabashedly progressive Senate campaign came up just short in the 2020 Democratic primary.

"I was getting hit with tear gas, and he was in Washington trying to say that he's the smartest person in the room and talking about conspiracy theories," Booker told WDRB News on Monday. 

Paul supports Biden's troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he will withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from the "forever war” in Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021.

Paul supports the move, which comes as reports say at least 2,500 American forces remain in the country nearly 20 years after the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

Related: Biden to pull US troops from Afghanistan, end 'forever war'

"I don't think our troops occupying it makes it less likely that people attack us," he said. "In some ways it makes us more involved in other people's civil war and maybe more likely people will somehow decide that they are going to punish us for the involvement in their civil war."

The withdrawal will end two decades of war that killed more than 2,200 U.S. troops, wounded 20,000, and cost as much as $1 trillion, according to a report from the Associated Press. 

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