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All eyes on Kentucky U.S. Senate race on eve of election

Rand Paul (left) and Trey Grayson

Rand Paul (left) and Trey Grayson

Daniel Mongiardo (left) and Jack Conway

Daniel Mongiardo (left) and Jack Conway

By Jack Brammer – jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — The national media are flocking to Kentucky to see if Tea Party movement favorite Rand Paul can capture the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate Tuesday and rattle the state’s GOP establishment.

Meanwhile, the Democratic race for U.S. Senate in the state between Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney Jack Conway is going down to the mire as well as the wire.

Kentucky voters will go to the polls Tuesday to select their party nominees for the Nov. 2 general election. They will be voting on congressional races, dozens of state legislative races a handful of judicial races and numerous local races, included mayoral primaries in Lexington and Louisville.

Voter turnout in Kentucky is expected to be about 30 percent, said Les Fugate of the secretary of state’s office.

The most attention will be on the U.S. Senate races.

Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon who has tapped into the anti-tax, small-government fervor of the Tea Party movement, is attracting heavy national media interest in his race against Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

Paul was on the front pages Monday of the New York Times and USA Today and was interviewed by Fox News, among others.

Grayson told The Washington Post Monday that Fox News “has all but endorsed Paul and given him an easy way to tout his candidacy without actually meeting Kentucky voters in person.”

Grayson said he’s been on Fox News only once while Paul is “on all of the time.”

Grayson is scheduled to be interviewed Tuesday morning by Fox.

Several national media outlets have scheduled interviews Tuesday night with Paul and his father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008.

The elder Paul attended church in Bowling Green with his son and his son’s family Sunday and will be at the Bowling Green victory rally Tuesday night, said Paul campaign manager David Adams.

“The media interest is unbelievable,” said Adams. “Fox News is to have a live truck with us on election night. We’ve also heard from CNN, even the BBC, a whole bunch.”

Adams attributed the out-of-state media interest to the Tea Party movement.

Candidate Paul has been endorsed by retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Southgate, but the state’s top Republican, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Louisville, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset, whose 5th Congressional District is the most Republican in the state, are siding with Grayson.

With all the national interest, might the younger Paul have presidential ambitions?

“He’s asking everyone to vote for him Tuesday,” Adams said when asked Monday if candidate Paul wants to be president someday.

Paul, who is making his first bid for public office, spent Monday doing radio interviews on stations in Paducah, Bowling Green and Lexington and attending a rally in Bowling Green.

Grayson scheduled a fly-around, with stops at Hebron in Northern Kentucky, Louisville, Owensboro, Paducah, Hopkinsville, Bowling Green, Somerset and Lexington.

While most recent polls show Paul with double-digit leads over Grayson, the Democratic contest is in a statistical dead heat.

The race between Mongiardo and Conway intensified over the weekend when Mongiardo claimed without any proof that Conway was behind recorded telephone messages that falsely said Mongiardo supports legislation that would put mandatory caps on carbon emissions from coal-burning plants.
Conway denied any involvement with the calls.

Mongiardo and Conway had full campaign schedules Monday.

Mongiardo had stops in Louisville, Liberty, Danville, Stanton, Frankfort, Georgetown and Lexington.

Conway started the day campaigning in Owensboro with former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford and then went to Bowling Green. In Lexington late in the day, Conway campaigned with Ford and state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington. He finished the day, working a phone bank with volunteers at his campaign headquarters in Louisville.

Filed Under: Daniel MongiardoDemocratic PartyElectionsFederal GovernmentHal RogersJack ConwayMitch McConnellRand PaulRepublican PartyUS Senate Race

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  1. Kathy Hill says:

    If Rep. Stein is behind Mr. Conway I’m with her. She has always wanted to help “the little people of Lexington. This is not what someone told me but what I have witnessed from her personally.

    Mr.Conway, you have my vote.

  2. Thomas Jefferson says:

    VOTE THE BUMS OUT! ALWAYS VOTE FOR THE CHALLENGER REGARDLESS THE PARTY. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES. TAKE AMERICA BACK FROM THE WASHINGTON INSIDERS.

  3. snappy says:

    idiotic. Tea party favorite — hee ha ha. the media can’t be bothered to ask people, so they use rand paul’s campaign speeches and self-proclaimed tea party status. win or lose, this has nothing to do with tea party’s supposed ‘power”

  4. tafugate says:

    i gotta agree with thomas, though republicans and democrats proclaim they’re on polar opposite sides of every issue, there’s not a lot of difference between their spending habits.

    i laugh at rand paul. on one hand, he says he’s not a prototypical republican politician, but his views are right out of the extreme right conservative playbook. how is he different than the ‘all i know howto say is ‘no” mcconnell?

    i was torn whether to vote for mongiardo or conway, but thanks to the synopsis of viewpoints on kentucky dot com, i’ve given the edge to conway. i wasn’t aware kathy stein had endorsed conway, but that’s another plus. i think crit luallen endorsed conway, don’t quote me on that, but that seals the deal.

  5. littleNate says:

    All the polls are wrong! Trey is going to win tomorrow!

  6. Prof. Gilligan says:

    If Democrats were serious about “hope” and “change”, they’d have something similar to the Tea Party.

    Re-electing the same old Democrat “Elite”, year-after-year, is not “hope”. It’s not “change”.

    My hope is that Democrats will LEARN from the successes of the Tea Party and help rid our country of career politicians who have brought this country to it’s current sorry state.

  7. snappy says:

    bigunit, you must be a high-schooler. Is that the extent of your verbal acumen?

  8. Eloy Trump says:

    It’s over, Paul wins in a landslide _Dr. Dan barley get’s by Conway. and In November we finally get our Country back from The Lunatic Libs. God Bless America!!!!

  9. Letcher County says:

    I plan on voting for Jack Conway. He seems like the one who can defeat Rand Paul. Mongardio offers nothing new, especially since he lost last time, why do we think he will win this time. I dont. Conway will.

  10. Erin H. says:

    The Tea Party does not align itself with any party, they invite citizens from all parties who share their views. Maybe you should do some simple research into your “party”.

  11. Suzanne Grableway says:

    Trey Greyson, why would say that Rand Paul is not talking about things Ky. needs. He was Saturday when my husband was talking to him about coal and other things. I think it is that democrat in you that does not let you pick up on the truth when you see it or hear it. Bye, Bye

  12. Kelsey says:

    What effect will the Governor have on the election in November when Dr Dan meets Dr Ran?

  13. Lee says:

    Please, people of Kentucky, watch your polling stations carefully. Mr. Paul has a double digit lead in the polls, yet Mr. Grayson appears highly confident that he’ll still win. I understand that he is also the head of the Kentucky Elections Board. All know that elections have been stolen (ie: rigged) in the US before.

  14. Noah says:

    Rand Paul is not on the “extreme right”, he is someone who for the most part follows the Constitution and believes in individual freedom (the false left-right paradigm labels anyone not into an all-powerful government as extreme left or right). Meanwhile, Trey Grayson is the Chairman of the Kentucky State Board of Elections which is responsible for certifying elections — an extreme example of conflict of interest. He should have recused himself.

  15. Grant says:

    My thoughts exactly Noah…Grayson has opened the door to a firestorm of criticism. Being in charge of his own election is just dumb. The author really dropped the ball on this one too. In what country is an 18 point lead a statistical dead heat? Wonder who he’s pulling for? The good ol’ boy club will not go down without a fight.

  16. Bill Courson says:

    As a “new Kentuckian,” a lifelong liberal (usually a Democrat) and a gay man who is seriously interested in preserving his own freedom and equality as well as that of his community, I applaud Dr. Paul’s victory.

    Not that I hope to see him – or any other Tea Party enthusiast – win in November.

    I have great faith in the sensibility of the overwhelming majority of the American people. I believe that as election day approaches, the anti-government and anti-incumbent crowd who manifest their anger toward Washington will come to their senses and support broadly moderate to liberal candidates for office.

    In contrast to most observers, I believe that a Democratic majority will be maintained in both Houses of Congress notwithstanding the primary successes of the Tea-Partiers. Why?

    Because while their frustration is understandable, its objects are not. It was eight years of the quasi-criminal Bush/Cheney nightmare regime that involved the country and its citizens in two inestimably costly, pointless and un-winable wars, dragged the country’s once sterling reputation through the mud of global repugnance and all but destroyed the country’s economy.

    If that economy has been brought onto the right track to recovery, it is owing to the foresight, fortitude and persistence of Barack Obama and his administration team.

    If we all are not today unemployed, dispossessed, evicted and vending apples on the street corners of our nation, it is – in very large measure – to this man and his efforts that y’all need to give thanks.

    So Tea-partiers, “birthers,” and Glen-Beck-o-philes: its time to wake up and smell the coffee. Stop acting like illiterate, anger-deranged “know-nothings” and behave like real Americans: that is, vote with your brain, not your spleen.