U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is up for re-election in November, and Democrats across the country are gunning for Senator Paul’s seat.
The Democrat establishment in Kentucky has chosen Mayor of Lexington, Jim Gray, to run against incumbent Rand Paul.
Gray is the first openly gay mayor of Lexington, his family has money, and he has a small business background, having been involved in his family’s construction company.
Several high-profile Democrats have contributed to Gray’s campaign and endorsed the Mayor of Lexington against conservative Senator Paul.
Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, contributed $2,700 to Gray’s campaign, NY Senator Chuck Schumer and ND Senator Heidi Heitkamp each donated $10,000, and progressive freak, MA Senator Elizabeth Warren, gave $5,000.
Gray himself pledged $4 million of his personal money to his own campaign.
Gray raised $1.75 million in the first quarter of 2016 for his Senate bid, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.
Last month’s RealClearPolitics poll had Senator Paul leading Gray 50 to 38, a 12-point margin.
But according to The Washington Post earlier this year, “[Paul’s] re-election appears to be no sure thing.”
The running theme in Gray’s campaign rhetoric and among his supporters is that Sen. Paul neglected his home state while he ran for president last year.
As of late August, a new Super PAC plans to play a part in the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky by launching an all-out media ad campaign designed to unseat Sen. Paul and help put Democratic nominee Jim Gray in office.
According to the Courier Journal on September 2nd:
“This election represents a stark contrast between a leader with an outstanding record of creating jobs, working across the aisle and solving problems or a gadfly politician with no accomplishments for the people of Kentucky. Kentucky deserves better,” said Wilson, a Louisville art collector, philanthropist and founder of 21c Museum Hotels, who will serve as the group’s treasurer.
The press release doesn’t mention Gray by name but it criticizes Paul. “Both Republican and Democratic business leaders across the state are tired of Rand Paul’s empty rhetoric and want a Senator with a real record of bipartisan leadership and job creation,” the release says.
[Gray is] harshly critical of Paul for his aborted presidential run, saying he has failed to represent the state.
“I’m running because a Senate seat is a terrible thing to waste,” he tells voters. “Rand Paul has spent more time in the corn fields of Iowa and the coffee shops of New Hampshire than he has in Kentucky.”
Gray supports a minimum wage increase, the Affordable Care Act, and a federal initiative to help people afford college.
Gray has had ads up on television in Louisville, Lexington and elsewhere in the state for weeks, making him the most easily recognizable candidate on the ballot – if he wasn’t already before the ads began.
He has sunk $1 million of his own money into the campaign and has garnered backing from more establishment types in the state, including U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, former Gov. Paul Patton and former Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen.
Also according to The Courier Journal:
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Gray earlier this year, before the Democratic primary.
“Jim Gray is one of those candidates we recruited in anticipation of it being a really competitive year, even in places that Republicans have taken for granted,” said Lauren Passalacqua, national press secretary for the DSCC.
Senator Paul won his initial Senate bid in November 2010, after Republican incumbent Jim Bunning retired rather than seeking a third term.
In the 2010 primary election, Paul beat his neo-conservative opponent Trey Grayson handily by 23 points.
Grayson had formerly called himself a member of the Democratic Party in college and voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, but ran in 2010 against Paul as a Republican.
Grayson was Kentucky Secretary of State from 2003 to 2011, and is now president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
In the general election, Paul beat Jack Conway, then-Kentucky Attorney General, by 11.5%.
Rand Paul’s libertarian-leaning conservative bent resembles that of his father, Ron Paul, whose 2008 and 2012 presidential bids gained major traction among grassroots conservatives and libertarians.
Paul’s libertarian principles have mostly survived his freshman term as U.S. Senator.
Widely acknowledged to be one of the most conservative Republican Senators in Washington, it would be a blow for grassroots conservatives if Mayor Jim Gray, HRC crony, succeeded in ousting Sen. Paul.
Sen. Paul has consistently voted for small government, and according to his promises in his first 6-year term, is leading the charge against unlawful citizen surveillance by the NSA, government waste and spending, the Federal Reserve, and general government overreach.
Paul has an A Rating from Conservative Review’s Liberty Scorecard, with 92% conservative votes while in office.
The Washington Post reported Sen. Paul as saying,
“I am running for president for the same reason I am your Senator: to fight for you, for our country and for our rights. We don’t yet know where that will take me, but as others look at running for Senate against me, I want to remind them, and you, that I have done my job well, done it with Kentucky in mind, and done it exactly how I said I would do it.”