Primary lessons: What we learned about the tea party, the Paul network and the presidential race

05/24/2012 07:42 AM

Not a single tea party challenger for Kentucky state legislative districts won on Tuesday. And the most marquee name with strong tea party backing to give a victory speech was Thomas Massie, who also had the most campaign funds, a Super PAC behind him and the backing of Ron and Rand Paul.

Trey Grayson, the former Kentucky secretary of state who is now director of the Harvard Institute of Politics, said this election shows candidates have to have more than just a brand.

“You have to have a good candidate with a compelling message, with committed grassroots and money. And if you’re missing a piece of that, it’s hard to win these races,” he said.

Grayson said Massie had that but that the strong backing of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and the network of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul can’t be overstated.

“I think that Paul organization is different. But you can’t take anything away from Thomas Massie,” Grayson said. (4:00) And find out what Grayson said about the prospect of someone else in that network being a more viable GOP candidate for governor in 2015. (8:00)

And Grayson talked about the presidential primary results in which President Barack Obama lost to the “uncommitted” option in 67 of Kentucky’s 120 counties.

“Given the lack of Democratic primaries that were going on, the low turnout — you can’t read a whole lot in here. The president is not going to win Kentucky. Romney is going to win Kentucky by a lot,” Grayson said (1:00). “(Obama) didn’t spend much time here.”

Perhaps the most interesting signal from the results is that Obama’s poor showing in Eastern Kentucky could be an indicator of rough goings for the president in the Appalachian region of southeastern Ohio, which will be a key swing state, Grayson said.


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