Rand Paul, sitting on a presumably big lead in most polls, has avoided inviting the national press to stoke more controversy in his campaign. Yet, the Republican Senate candidate's own statements and claims are encouraging further scrutiny in Kentucky.
Paul could have his campaign staff to blame for the most embarassing misstep of the past week, announcing an endorsement that did not exist.
With Democrat opponent Jack Conway hammering Paul in television commercials that feature Kentucky sheriffs mocking Paul's positions and understanding of crime and drug issues, Paul's campaign released a list of Kentucky sheriffs who are endorsing him in the campaign.
Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson's name was on the list, but Johnson told the Associated Press' Bruce Schreiner that the Paul campaign jumped the gun:
Earlier, Johnson twice withheld an endorsement in interviews with The Associated Press, and expressed irritation at the Paul campaign for including him on a list of sheriffs and incoming sheriffs supporting Paul.
Johnson’s change of heart capped a day of twists and turns that began with two Republican sheriffs from southeastern Kentucky telling the AP that they had not endorsed Paul.
In doing so, they disputed Paul campaign press statements from earlier in the week.
Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton said the campaign had “reconfirmed” both endorsements, but winning over Johnson came several hours later. It occurred after Paul and the sheriff had a lengthy discussion, Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Paul, a deficit hawk, is also facing more questions about how he reconciles extending tax cuts in an imbalanced federal budget. "Absolutely. The money is not the government's. It is ours," Paul said last week in Bowling Green.
Though at that same media event Paul answered questions about the Tea Party emergence and the candidacy of Delaware's Christine O'Donnell, Paul declined to speak to reporters in Louisville after he met for the first time at a private fundraiser with Tea Party kindred spirit, Sarah Palin.