Sen. Rand Paul telegraphs nationalized U.S. Senate general election race

05/17/2016 01:10 PM

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is gearing up to defend his seat this fall and says whoever emerges as his opponent on Tuesday will have to answer for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

The Bowling Green Republican and one term U.S. Senator faces token opposition in Tuesday’s primary election and is preparing his supporters for a nationalized presidential year re-election contest in the bluegrass.

“If you like your state, if you like the jobs in your state, why in the world would you consider voting for somebody who has explicitly told you that she is going to put people in your state out of business?” Paul said in a phone interview with Pure Politics Tuesday.

Paul’s statement on Clinton is in reference to an answer she gave at a town hall broadcast by CNN in March, on coal economies.

At the time Clinton said she wants to bring clean renewable energy into coal country.

“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Clinton said. “And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories.”

“Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on,” Clinton said in March, she has since defended her position on coal when asked by miners in Appalachia.

On Tuesday, Paul said he could not imagine people in Kentucky voting for her after making the statement. Looking ahead to November, Paul said his opponent in the U.S. Senate race will have to explain if they support Clinton and the policies the Democratic Party represents.

On the flip side, Paul could also have to explain whether or not he supports the ideas and policies of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

“For me I think it will be less of a problem because I have a distinct voice,” Paul said. “I’ve voiced my concerns with Trump and will continue to talk about when I agree and when I disagree. I’m not afraid to have my own positions. I’m not afraid to have a distinct voice, but I won’t be voting for anybody in the Senate — any Senate leader that is hostile to my state.”

A big issue Paul plans on promoting in Congress this week is an amendment to the transportation funding bill which would take $8 billion out of foreign aid and insert the savings into the highway fund.

“We’ve got bridges in Northern Kentucky, we’ve got bridges in Louisville and we’ve got roads that need to be expanded throughout the state, and frankly it doesn’t matter who I talk to whether Republican or Democrat, they tell me they agree with me — we shouldn’t be sending that money overseas to Pakistan or Afghanistan, we should be sending that money here at home,” he said.

Paul acknowledges there is a disconnect between the voters on that type of measure and the politicians in Washington, D.C., and he says it shows that’s led to the voter frustration and rise of outsider politicians.

“I probably won’t win the vote, but I’m going to put every senator on the record up here on whether or not they want to spend money in Afghanistan or spend it at home in their state,” Paul said. “The more I do this, the more I shame them I think, and ultimately they’re going to get heat from home when voters say, ‘Look, why are you voting to send our money overseas?’”

Listen to the full interview in the video below.

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@twcnews.com.

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