Jim Gray keeps jobs message at forefront of campaign talking points, takes aim at Rand Paul ahead of primary

04/26/2016 11:11 PM

LEXINGTON — Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is already spending campaign cash in an effort to introduce himself to voters ahead of a six-way primary for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination on May 17, but he’s also taking aim at Republican junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in carefully laid statements of late.

“I’ve got the experience and I’ve got the record to run for U.S. senator, and that’s exactly why I’m here here, because I feel like Sen. Paul has not done the job,” Gray said, speaking on why he’s running for the office. “Sen. Paul has been running for president ever since he was elected to the Senate, and I believe a U.S. Senate seat is a terrible thing to waste.”

Gray is increasing his public appearances in recent days with a swing through eastern Kentucky last weekend, but the fundraising schedule, he said, had been keeping him busy behind the scenes.

“We’ve ramped up the campaign. We’ve got a great staff in place, and that’s what it takes to run a campaign. It also takes resources, so yes I have been raising the resources, recruiting staff, doing what it takes to actually run a credible campaign in 2016,” Gray said of the quiet start.

The Lexington mayor faces five other Democratic challengers, but keeps his remarks focused on Paul, who faces token opposition in the GOP primary.

As Gray likes to point out, Paul ran for the White House, ending his bid after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus, but with that presidential campaign came huge national exposure and lots of name identification.

“What we know is that it’s a challenge of course. No illusions about it being a challenge, but I like challenges,” Gray said (5:00).

Gray also responded to questions about student financial debt and job growth during an extended sit-down interview with Pure Politics.

The Democratic politician advocated for a two-pronged approach to rising student debt: more students achieving skilled trades and a better examining of the debt burden placed on most college students.

Gray is competing against Sellus Wilder, of Frankfort; Rory Houlihan, of Winchester; Jeff Kender, of Phelps; Ron Leach, of Brandenburg; Tom Recktenwald, of Louisville in the Democratic Senate primary.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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