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GOP Senate primary: pressure mounts as year ends

by Joe Arnold


Posted on December 29, 2009 at 10:44 AM

(Political Blog)  As 2009 draws to a close, the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Kentucky continues to intrigue.

The fundraising prowess of upstart candidate Dr. Rand Paul has GOP rival Trey Grayson complaining about Paul's campaign cash - much of it from like-minded supporters of Pauls' libertarian icon dad U.S. Rep. Ron Paul - flowing into Kentucky, saying it will be used to attack him.  Grayson is making a last-minute 2009 pitch to his own supporters to "end the year with as large a war chest as possible."

In an e-mail, Grayson told supporters Paul has amassed a campaign war chest of "almost $2 million, the vast majority of which has come from out-of-state supporters of his father, a Texas Congressman. It’s clear from the negative campaign they’re already running that most of those funds will be used to attack me."

There is also the battle of perception, as Paul could be poised to take over the fundraising lead from Grayson.  The two campaigns were about even in fundraising through the 3rd quarter, but Paul has raked in more than $500,000 in the 4th quarter.  Because Paul posts his donations as they are processed "live" on his campaign website, Grayson knows what number he has to hit if he wants to stay ahead of Paul in cash. 

Paul has already pulled even with Grayson in last month's WHAS11/Survey USA poll, and a Public Policy Polling survey last week had Paul up an unbelievable 19 points.  Even the Paul campaign is not endorsing that wide of a lead, but in the battle of perception, it certainly doesn't hurt Paul to be reaffirmed not only as a legitimate candidate, but the possible frontrunner in the race.

Until the tragic fire that killed two of her grandsons on Christmas morning, i would have been bringing up a possible Cathy Bailey candidacy at this point in the blog post.  She had said last month that she was watching the race closely:  "Hopefully we will all know by January's filing deadline if either the establishment moderate or his insurgent opponent is truly capable of running a campaign that can survive the upcoming onslaught from the National Democratic Party." 

Meanwhile, yet another GOP candidate could be making enough noise to affect the Grayson/Paul contest.  Todd County businessman Bill Johnson released the results of an internal poll this monthTthat show Trey Grayson at 29%, Rand Paul at 25%, and Bill Johnson at 14%.