Kentucky Senate Election 2010
As I noted last night, C-Span broadcast the final debate between the Republican candidates for Senate in Kentucky, and it was quite a thing to watch:
Looking for an opening a week before the Kentucky Senate Republican primary, Trey Grayson used the final debate Monday night to hammer Rand Paul as weak on national security and unreliable on cultural issues
Grayson, who is trailing in the polls, was on the offensive for much of the hour-long session, saying Paul didn’t believe a nuclear-armed Iran was a threat to America, once backed closing the detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and was insufficiently opposed to abortion.
Paul shot back by accusing Grayson of distorting his views and running a dishonest, failing campaign.
But the more fundamental disagreement on display throughout the forum, which aired statewide on Kentucky public television, was an extension of the central dispute that has defined the closely watched contest and is dividing establishment and insurgent Republicans nationally: should the party hew to a purist line on fiscal issues, slashing spending and reducing the role of Washington, even if that means taking political risks that may be unpopular with the general electorate?
The contrasts between the two candidates, and between the two strains of the Republican Party, couldn’t be more extreme:
Paul called for eliminating the Department of Education.
“If you send less money to Washington, you’ll have more in your state for education,” he said.
But Grayson said there was a role for Washington in education, citing both the capital needs of the state’s public universities and the students who need tuition assistance.
Rand Paul is the next Senator of Kentucky. The election is all but wrapped up.
Most people will immediately respond that it is way too early to make such a statement; how can we possibly know what will happen over the next nine to ten months? I will concede the point that we can never be sure how an election will turn out ten months before the vote, but all evidence points towards a Rand Paul win come November.
Rand has seen meteoric rise in the polls over the past five months. He went from losing 26-37 in August to establishment pick Trey Grayson, to leading Grayson 44-25 in December. Also, while he was picking up this lead there was an increasing number of undecided voters from 17% in August to 32% in December. The momentum is clearly on Rand Paul’s side.
From the beginning Rand has arguably run a stronger campaign. Despite never being elected to office in Kentucky, Paul had the advantage of being Congressman Ron Paul’s son. This allowed him to make his announcement on national television that he would be running for Senate. While Trey Grayson attacked this as an example of how Paul was an “outsider” to Kentucky, the famous comeback by Paul swung this war of words in his favor, “I’ve been a Kentuckian longer than Grayson’s been a Republican!”
Here is Rand Paul’s victory speech from Tuesday evening:
- Paul: 53%
- Conway: 41%
- Other: 2%
- Not sure: 4%
Only 79% of voters are certain of their vote, which is less of a margin that we’ve seen in equally contested Senate races. This is likely due to the overwhelmingly negative tone the race has taken in the final weeks. And despite everything that has been thrown at Paul, 56% still view him favorably.
There is literally no hope for Conway. His negatives are way down, 58% hold an unfavorable view of Conway, and 50% say his ads have made them less likely to vote for him. Conway also isn’t aided by the unpopularity of ObamaCare, 62% favor repeal, and President Barack Obama, who has a 65% disapproval rate in the Bluegrass State.
Say hello to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
There were two new polls released out of Kentucky yesterday in the race for United States Senate between Rand Paul and Jack Conway. Both polls show Paul with a lead in a race that has gotten absolutely out of control in the last couple of weeks.
The first poll is from Fox News/Pulse Opinion Research:
- Paul: 50%
- Conway: 43%
- Other: 2%
- Not sure: 5%
You can check out the crosstabs here.
According to the poll, 56% are voting to express opposition to the policies of President Barack Obama and his administration. Rand Paul is above water in how voters view him, 48/41 (favorable/unfavorable). Jack Conway is not doing so well at 38/51.
Public Policy Polling released numbers in this race yesterday as well. Even though they are showing Paul with a 13 point lead, I’m so skeptical of Public Policy Polling’s work, I’m not sure I believe it.
- Paul: 53%
- Conway: 40%
- Undecided: 7%
They’re polling indicates that the “Aqua Buddha” ad has completely backfired as 56% of voters believe it was inappropriate.
What the Fox News poll is probably more accurate as far as what to expect on November 2nd. Rand Paul wins by a decent margin.
After the first debate with Jack Conway, Rand Paul said he wasn’t sure if he would participate a second due to the attacks against him by his Democratic opponent. Paul has now dropped his protest and will appear tonight:
Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul will debate his opponent, Democrat Jack Conway, next Monday night after all.
“While I do not respect Mr. Conway’s inappropriate attacks, I do respect the voters of this state and therefore will participate in Monday’s final debate,” Paul said.
“Kentuckians deserve another opportunity to understand the very real differences between Jack and myself. With ten days to go, I wish the campaign were about who has the best vision for Kentucky and America,” Paul said.
The source of contention between Conway and Paul is the “Aqua Buddha” ad that has been panned by observers and pundits, seen as a last chance shot at winning has become a closer race than anyone anticipated.
C-SPAN will air the debate live at 8pm. We’ll try to snag video to post tomorrow or Wednesday.
Now that Jack Conway and Democrats have doubled-down on their attacks on Rand Paul in Kentucky, Hotline on Call notes that ads attacking a candidate’s religion have done more harm than good:
In this election cycle, we’ve already seen one candidate run a religious attack ad only to subsequently lose the primary: In South Carolina, a day after coming in second to state Rep. Nikki Haley (R) in the gubernatorial primary, Rep. Gresham Barrett (R) released an ad in which he is described as a “Christian family man.” Then, shortly before the runoff, his campaign was apparently pushing the story that Haley, a converted Christian, “still attends Sikh services occasionally with her parents and extended family.” Haley went on to easily dispatch of Barrett, taking 65 percent of the vote in the runoff.
The most notorious 2008 religious attack ad was in North Carolina. Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s attempt to take down challenger (and now Sen.) Kay Hagan (D) with her “Godless” ad in the last days before the election. The ad hits Hagan of attending a “secret fundraiser” hosted by the Godless Americans PAC. “Godless Americans and Kay Hagan. She hid from cameras. Took Godless money,” says the narrator. “What did Kay Hagan promise in return?” At the end of the ad, Hagan’s face is shown with a voiceover of a woman saying “there is no God.”
You can view the ad Dole ran against Hagan in 2008 here. Many observers believe that the ad ultimately cost Dole the election.
The NRSC has put out a new ad that shows clips of various reporters, pundits, talking heads and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) discussing the desperation of the “Aqua Buddha” ad that Jack Conway has run against Rand Paul in Kentucky.
It speaks for itself:
The race for United States Senate is tightening in Kentucky, as the race has become extremely contentious in the last week. The tense tone seemed to coalesce in a debate on Sunday evening, where Rand Paul slammed his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, for personally attacking him and his religion in an ad that even some Democrats believe went too far. Paul walked off stage without shaking his hand.
The latest poll from Rasmussen shows:
- Paul: 47%
- Conway: 42%
- Other: 4%
- Not sure: 7%
It’s clear the attention on his past has taken him off message, but Paul has lost more support that Conway has gained. Since the beginning of August, Conway’s support has fluctuated between 31% to 42%, that doesn’t include a poll of registered voters or the poll with the questionable model showing Conway at 47%.
Paul is considering skipping the next debate, but with a poll showing his opponent within five point, he may have to attend.
Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul wants term limits for the heads of federal regulatory agencies. Paul made the comment during a meeting with leaders of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Monday.
Paul says federal agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, have too much power. He says the EPA is an “out of control bureaucracy that needs to be restrained.” “The bureaucracies have grown so large that they are controlling and running government. In fact, I’ve been thinking recently, I’m for term limits for politicians. Maybe we should have term limits for the heads of regulatory agencies as well,” he said.
Also during the question and answer session to be posted on the Internet, Paul spoke out against tariffs on foreign goods, but says the U.S. should quit sending foreign aid to countries that subsidize industry. Paul says the electricity grid that crosses Kentucky makes it an ideal state for nuclear power plants.
One of the reasons that regulatory agencies like the EPA are growing out of control is because Congress has given them power to write regulation without proper oversight. When legislation like cap-and-trade dies in Congress, the EPA steps in to shove it down our throats. Why have a legislative body if laws can be written by unelected bureaucrats?
While I like Paul’s idea, let’s take it a step further. Let’s strip these agencies of their regulatory fiat, which is a step toward shrinking government.