Paul, Gray will skip national conventions to campaign in Kentucky

07/15/2016 06:48 PM

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray will not attend their parties’ respective national conventions this year, instead opting to stay in Kentucky and focus on their campaigns.

Paul told radio host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday that he would not attend the coronation of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Cleveland next week, saying he had scheduled campaign events in Kentucky.

Paul spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper said the Republican incumbent will be performing pro-bono eye surgeries and host town hall events in Kentucky as GOP delegates converge on Cleveland.

“His number one priority is doing the job Kentuckians elected him to do, and he is looking forward to discussing the issues most important to them and sharing what he’s doing in the Senate on their behalf,” she said in a statement.

Gray’s campaign said that Paul’s decision against attending the RNC is “probably a good idea because he has a lot to explaining to do to the people of Kentucky.”

“From our perspective he’s paying more attention to his next run for president rather than addressing issues important to Kentuckians like the miners’ pensions, funding opioid legislation, filling the Supreme Court vacancy and keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists,” Gray campaign spokeswoman Cathy Lindsey said in a statement.

“Sen. Paul and Donald Trump have said some really nasty things about each other. It would probably be awkward for him to attend the convention to endorse someone he plans to run against in 2020.”

Paul, who was selected as a Kentucky delegate, isn’t alone in skipping the Republican gathering.

Former Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush, former GOP nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney, and former presidential contenders Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, governor of the host state, are among those who have announced their plans to sit out the convention.

And when Democrats gather in Philadelphia to formally nominate Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate the week of July 25, Gray, like Paul, will be campaigning in Kentucky.

“Jim won’t be attending the convention because he will be in Kentucky,” Lindsey said in a statement. “His top priority is doing his job as mayor and fighting for the change Kentuckians need in Washington.”

Cooper said in a statement that Gray “can try to avoid being seen with all of his anti-coal, anti-Kentucky allies, but what he can’t avoid is the fact that he’s already told Kentuckians that he supports Hillary Clinton, her War on Coal, and her devastating agenda for Kentucky.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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