Thursday, November 12, 2009

Party dinosaurs try to portray him as oddball, but Rand Paul accelerates towards GOP nomination for US senate seat in Kentucky

(NewsMax) -- FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Former presidential candidate Ron Paul's son is borrowing a page from his father's playbook for his U.S. Senate bid, leaning heavily on Internet fundraising and tapping the enthusiasm of young Republicans on college campuses. The difference this time is that it could actually work. Eye surgeon Rand Paul, once ignored as a longshot, raised more than his main 2010 GOP primary opponent in the most recent fundraising period, and experts say he has a legitimate shot at winning the Senate seat being vacated by colorful Republican Jim Bunning. "On some levels, it's more than a grass roots campaign," said Western Kentucky University political scientist Scott Lasley. "It's a guerrilla campaign. It's not the easiest to compete against." ...

Paul's fundraising prowess will help him generate the name recognition he needs to win, said Scott Jennings, a GOP strategist who served as a special assistant to former President George W. Bush and campaign adviser for Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's successful re-election bid last year. Rand Paul has lived in Kentucky for 18 years, but has never run for office...

Republican leaders, including McConnell, have been largely mum about the race. McConnell did host a GOP fundraiser in Washington for Grayson in September. More than 20 Republican senators attended, but the campaign hasn't released the fundraising total. Bunning, who was urged to retire by GOP leaders after two terms, also hasn't weighed in publicly on the Republican candidates. The 78-year-old sports icon enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame was widely seen as one of the most vulnerable Republicans heading into next year's elections. Since Bunning bowed out, Paul's detractors have tried to paint him as an oddball and an extremist, but growing crowds are flocking to town hall meetings across Kentucky to hear his spiel about reining in government spending, stopping taxpayer bailouts of private companies and balancing the federal budget...Cont'd...LINK

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