Super PACs prepare to fight for Rand Paul in Kentucky

04/07/2016 11:42 AM

Two super PACs are prepared to dump their campaign war chests in Kentucky this fall in an effort to support U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in his first re-election race.

Concerned American Voters and America’s Liberty PAC plan to spend millions of dollars in the commonwealth in support of Paul this year. Outside groups cannot coordinate with Paul’s campaign, but PACs have been beneficial to other candidates in the state in recent elections.

Both of the independent expenditure groups supported Paul in his run for president, and now they intend to ensure Paul’s voice continues in Congress.

Concerned American Voters currently has $1.83 million in cash-on-hand, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission, and the group’s senior advisor, Matt Kibbe, says there are commitments for millions more with a goal of reaching $5 million for the race.

“We think (Paul) is the most important voice in the U.S. Senate for fiscal sanity and economic liberty, and he has proven he is willing to take on the D.C. establishment — even when it’s a Republican,” Kibbe said in a phone interview. “We think his voice is vital in defending our values moving forward.”

The group did not run any television ads in support of Paul in his presidential race, but Kibbe said that would change in this election.

While it’s “too early” to say how the group will craft its message, Kibbe, the former president and founder of FreedomWorks, said the PAC will play whatever role they feel benefits Paul the most as the campaign takes shape.

“If necessary we’re willing to throw a punch as well,” he said.

Also joining the outside spending in support of Paul is America’s Liberty PAC. Senior advisor Jesse Benton said the group currently has $500,000 in cash-on-hand for the race, and an FEC report shows $826,109 on hand at the end of 2015.

Benton told Pure Politics that the super PAC has pledges for at least $2 million more and plans to spend the full $2.5 million in support of Paul.

“Kentucky needs Rand Paul to keep fighting back against Washington’s tax and spend, pro-Obamacare, anti-Coal agenda. Senator Paul’s re-election prospects are already solid and America’s Liberty PAC is committed to making sure they are 100 percent air tight,” the group said in a statement.

The PAC plans to begin their advertising blitz in the early fall.

As the super PACs begin weighing the race, a source close to the Paul campaign told Pure Politics that Paul will have roughly the same amount in capital raised for the race as Lexington Mayor and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray reported on Wednesday. Gray reported $1.75 million raised with $750,000 in direct contributions and a $1 million personal loan.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says Paul’s campaign fundraising haul will all be in the form of direct contributions after gathering cash for half of the fundraising quarter. Paul’s campaign will also have around $1.5 million in pledged support for the new cycle, according to the source.

The Bowling Green Republican faces James Gould and Stephen Slaughter in the May 17 GOP 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@twcnews.com.

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