FRANKFORT – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul and a mysterious supporter are attempting to paint GOP front-runner Trey Grayson as a Washington D.C. insider.
Supporter Josh Manuel, whom Paul campaign manager David Adams said he doesn’t know, has launched a Web site promoting a “Kentucky Fight” between Paul and Grayson on Sept. 23.
The site, titled “Rand ‘We the People’ vs. Trey ‘The DC Insiders,’” notes that 23 Republican U.S. senators, including Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, are to hold a $500-per-plate fundraiser for Grayson’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign in Washington on Sept. 23.
“This deck stacking favoritism in a highly contested GOP primary is unacceptable,” said the site, www.kentuckyfight.com. It encourages donors to pledge $100 to Paul’s campaign in response.
“Our goal is to bring together 5,000 common people to donate $100 each creating a one-day donation total of $500,000.”
As of 2 p.m. Monday, the site said 278 people had pledged to donate $100 each.
The Web site states that the effort “is a grassroots effort and is not associated with the Official Rand Paul campaign.”
It initially did not identify the source of the Web site but a disclaimer noting that Josh Manuel paid for the site was added later, after the Louisville-based political blog Page One Kentucky questioned whether it met Federal Election Commission requirements.
Adams said he did not know Manuel, although Adams had said on his Facebook and Twitter pages that the fund-raiser would “be very successful.” Adams said the statement was only a prediction and that he had no involvement.
“It certainly wasn’t Dr. Paul’s idea,” Adams said.
The Web site comes on the heels of a recent online fund-raiser by Paul’s campaign that reaped about $433,000.
Meanwhile, Paul pledged Monday not to accept campaign contributions from any U.S. senator who voted for a bank-industry bailout last year.
He also challenged his opponents in the May 2010 Republican primary election to do likewise.
Paul said 17 senators who are co-sponsoring the Sept. 23 fundraiser for Grayson voted for the bailout.
“This isn’t about holding politicians to an impossibly high standard of agreeing with everything one’s supporters say or do,” Paul said. “But a primary focus of my campaign is that we need Republicans in office who will have the courage to say no to federal bailouts of big business.”
Grayson’s campaign manager, Nate Hodson, said Grayson opposes the bailouts but, rather than attacking Republicans, “has called for an exit plan” to stop the bailouts.
“If elected, Secretary Grayson will focus on solutions and will work to rally more Republicans to his position while working to build our party, not tear it down,” Hodson said.
Todd County businssman Bill Johnson also is a candidate in the 2010 GOP election for U.S. Senate.