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(Political Blog) Paul and Grayson both basking in GOP's Higdon Senate win

by Joe Arnold


Posted on December 11, 2009 at 12:35 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 11 at 4:24 PM

I reached Rand Paul by cell phone Tuesday night as he exited a speaking appearance in Bullitt County.  Paul wanted to talk about the special election victory of Republican Jimmy Higdon, a campaign that allowed Paul to show his GOP bonafides to the rest of Kentucky's Republican faithful.  Highlights of our conversation are below.

Sec. of State Trey Grayson also passed along his comments after the Higdon election and the election of Jill York in the special election for the KY House seat vacated by now Senator Robin Webb (D).  Grayson says even Democratic leaders agree that Democrats lost both races "due to the backlash of Kentucky voters against the outrageous policies of Democrats at the federal level."  Grayson's news release follows the Rand Paul conversation.

"We are ecstatic about it,"  Paul said of the election of Jimmy Higdon, " I think 2010 will be a big year for Republicans." 

Paul sees Higdon's defeat of the expanded gaming special interest money as a harbinger of his own primary campaign against Trey Grayson.

"People don’t want outsiders telling them what to do.  Same as our campaign, people don’t want Washington to tell us who to support,"  Paul said, continuing to paint Grayson as the handpicked candidate of the establishment, a role that Grayson resists.

Paul believes he is different and that Kentucky voters are looking for something different, for them to "see you as one of them."
But the Higdon campaign also allowed Paul to reach out to the party stalwarts, the pollworking, envelope stuffing, telephoning core of the party organization.  The party faithful who are probably inclined to support Grayson. 
"There's something to be said about showing people who are not our current supporters, in the establishment, that we want the party to grow,"  Paul said,
In a later release, Paul's campaign said it relished the "small role" it played in Higdon's win, but the Bowling Green eye surgeon pointed out that he hosted a fundraiser that fed $5000 to Higdon's campaign, and "we sent e-mails to all of our supporters in Kentucky," Paul added.
It is the viral nature of the Paul campaign that not only is its not so secret weapon, but a source of fascination among some Republicans who lamented Barack Obama's masterful use ot the Internet to win the presidency. 
Modeled after the viral success of his father's campaigns, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Rand Paul says his campaign is eager to "...show how well organized we are. We still have time to help other candidates who are on  the ticket." 
"We support the party,"  Paul said, and clearly he wants traditional party members to support him.  Paul said his campaign's "out of this world" Internet savvy can motivate people and  turn out the vote.  Paul has aligned himself with the anti-tax Tea Party movement, which he says "is huge" and behind "the biggest political events in the last 10 years in Kentucky."
Trey Grayson's campaign issued this news release after Tuesday's special elections: 
   Secretary of State Trey Grayson today congratulated Jimmy Higdon and Jill York for their impressive victories in the special elections for the Kentucky Senate and House.
            In the wake of their defeat, Governor Steve Beshear and Kentucky Democrat Party Chairman Charlie Moore both admitted the races were lost due to the backlash of Kentucky voters against the outrageous policies of Democrats at the federal level.
            Trey Grayson called on Kentucky’s major Democrat candidates for U.S. Senate, Jack Conway and Dan Mongiardo, to clarify their stances on the worst of the Democrat agenda for Kentucky voters.
            “In light of the strong backlash from Kentucky voters against policies being pushed by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the Obama Administration, it would only be fair to give the Democrat candidates for U.S. Senate an opportunity to clarify their positions on the worst of their party’s agenda. So far they’ve refused to say how they would vote as the Senate debates and votes on legislation that could amount to a government takeover of more than 1/6 of our national economy. Kentuckians deserve to know where they stand on all these issues,” said Grayson.
            Democrats in Congress and the Obama Administration are pushing record spending, taxes and deficits, a national energy tax, a government takeover of health care, and support allowing the EPA to regulate carbon emissions, all of which will destroy Kentucky jobs.