LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) - With less than a week until Kentucky voters go to the polls, Rand Paul is opening up his lead against Trey Grayson.
WHAS11 News is releasing the results of a brand-new, WHAS11 News/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll in that intense Senate race.
WHAS11 Political Editor, Joe Arnold has the WHAS11 News Exclusive.
It's the Senate race the entire nation is watching -- as Trey Grayson -- the choice of some of the biggest names in the Republican party is trying to overcome a tidal wave of tea - as Rand Paul is coasting on that tea party wave.
The Rand Paul phenomenon in Kentucky shows no signs of ebbing tonight - as the Bowling Green opthamologist's double digit lead continues over Secretary of State Trey Grayson. He says his message is behind his 16 point lead.
"I come from the Tea Party movement," Paul said Wednesday, "and the tea party movement really feels like government is out of control, that we're being consumed by this debt."
As Trey Grayson campaigned in Louisville this morning, some may suggest the dark clouds that hung over him were a metaphor for the poll numbers..
"We're seeing a very close race," Grayson insisted, "A jump ball if you will and we're going to finish strong and one of the things you're not going to see us do is quit. And you're not going to see our supporters quit."
"I think that both campaigns believe they still have work to do," said Republican strategist Scott Jennings.
"I think that even if Rand Paul believes he has a lead of some kind, that he hasn't completely sealed the deal. That he hasn't completely shut off Grayson from any chance of winning."
But Jennings says at this point it would be an upset for Paul to give up such a lead.
About one-third of Kentucky's registered Republicans live in Louisville - where Rand Paul enjoys an 18 point lead.
Paul leads by 13 points in Grayson's home base of North Central Kentucky. Republican insiders believe that Grayson will eventually have more support than our poll indicates.
"I think Paul is likely to slightly underperform the polling," Jennings continued, "And I think Grayson because he's appeared on the ballot twice statewide may overperform the polling a bit."
Paul enjoys support from libertarians and independents who cannot vote in the Republican primary, but whose influence is being felt.
"It's sort of the perspective of the same old establishment politicians versus someone who is not a politician," Paul said, a characterization that Grayson argues is misleading.
"Look at my record," Grayson argued, "If I were 'more of the same' in Frankfort, people wouldn't have reelected me in '07. My record of cutting spending, of working across party lines to get stuff done, speaking my mind when the leaders of my party were wrong,
standing up to Senator McConnell.
"Our strategy is we're going to make those primary voter votes by making the case, by me looking at them in the eye through the camera saying vote for me. I can fix Washington. I'm going to slash spending. I have a record of doing that. And you can trust me and you know me."