GOP Senate race hits road, U.S. Mail, Post

05/13/2010 01:13 PM

Republican U.S. Senate candidates Trey Grayson and Rand Paul have shifted into all-out-blitz mode, tapping every conceivable way to reach voters in the final days. They at least have kept Washington’s attention.

Rand Paul's photo in the Washington Post

Paul has retained his title of flavor of the month among political observers in Washington. Thursday’s Washington Post featured a photo of Paul on the front page above the fold waiting to appear on Fox News dressed in a sport coat, tie and plaid shorts looking more like AC|DC guitarist Angus Young than a U.S. Senate candidate. (Amy Gardner, the reporter who wrote the accompanying story, discusses the photo and the race in general in a chat.)

The analysts at the National Journal’s Hotline, this week, named Paul the most likely “outsider” to knock off an incumbent. Quinn McCord and John Mercurio of Hotline TV picked Paul the top “insurgent candidate” in the nation. But Paul was the only candidate they picked who isn’t challenging an incumbent. Clearly analysts have lumped Grayson as the “establishment candidate” backed by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and others in with incumbents. (Watch it here.)

On a related note, Mercurio went on to say that McConnell has much to lose in this primary if Grayson falls to Paul as all the public polls are predicting.

“I’m sorry to have to do this to you, Senator,” Mercurio said prefacing his remarks by saying McConnell is a fan of Hotline TV. “But look, if you lose — if your hand-picked candidate in your state loses his Senate primary and loses it badly … that’s a big embarrassment to you.”

Grayson took to the road starting Tuesday on a six-day bus tour with at least 38 stops. He hit the Louisville-Bowling Green corridor Wednesday, where campaign volunteer Todd Inman, an Owensboro insurance agent, reported that 25 Grayson supporters attended the meet-and-greet in Paul’s hometown of Bowling Green. About a dozen sign-waving Paul backers also showed up, he said.

Grayson continues to Tweet and use robo calls, going as local as possible.

Paul also has been campaigning. But he has stepped up his direct mail campaign over the last week. Instead of slickly-produced pamphlets, Paul has sent out three-page letters to likely Republican voters throughout the election. Lately, others have been joining him in the pen-pal campaign, including Northern Kentucky Republican and former state representative candidate Bernie Kunkel and Paul’s wife, Kelley.

The Pauls, in fact, offered Republican voters’ mailboxes a blend of styles on Wednesday. Kelley Paul’s letter provided the sweet: “Rand has always taught our children that they should stand up for what’s right — even if they are standing alone,” she wrote in blue handwriting-script print. And Rand Paul delivered the spicy: “My opponent and his establishment buddies can see the polls, and they know the only way for them to win this race is to play dirty,” said his letter, which included 11 bolded sentences for emphasis.

The two continue to elbow each other for time on Kentucky’s airwaves. Each has bought about $30,000 on cable in the first two weeks of May, alone.

And they’re not stopping with TV. Grayson, the Secretary of State, issued a plea to supporters Thursday morning asking for help to raise $15,550 in 24 hours to help make budget at “buy the last radio ads we need in Kentucky’s 1st and 5th Congressional districts.”

All this sets up what is sure to be one last intense weekend of primary election campaigning.

- Ryan Alessi


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