With less than a month to go in Senate race, Gray sees plenty of time to hammer Sen. Paul

10/12/2016 05:49 PM

LOUISVILLE — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray appealed to a friendly crowd of retired autoworkers at the United Auto Workers Local 862 on Wednesday for their help in his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

And after opening a new line of attack against his opponents’ opposition to the Patriot Act and past call to cut defense spending in 2011, Gray says there’s plenty of time for that message to resonate with voters less than a month before they hit the polls.

Paul’s campaign countered with a television spot on Wednesday, highlighting his support for the military and his more recent proposal to ramp up defense spending.

“I think Rand Paul’s record stands for itself,” Gray told Pure Politics after his remarks to the union retirees.

“He’s been against our military. He’s been against intervention. He’s been against our intelligence community. Now’s the time when we need, if we’ve ever needed, we need a robust intelligence system. Rand Paul has done more to unmantle and disassemble our intelligence system than any other senator.”

Regardless of how late Gray’s first attack ad came in this year’s cycle, he’ll need campaign cash to keep hammering the incumbent on the airwaves.

The Lexington mayor says he’s “very pleased” with his third-quarter fundraising haul, although he declined to discuss specific dollar figures. Those amounts will be posted soon on the Federal Election Commission’s website.

“We’re going to have the resources it requires to run a competitive race,” he said.

Gray, former CEO of Gray Construction, also didn’t say whether he plans to pump more of his own money into the campaign. He loaned his campaign $1 million during the primary.

If elected, Gray says he will work with whomever is elected president.

“That’s not something Rand Paul can say because Rand Paul is so partisan that he’s unwilling to work with anyone across the aisle,” he said. “My campaign is all about collaboration. It’s all about people coming together to work together for the benefit of America.”

That comes after calling on Paul to disavow Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump over the weekend following the release of a 2005 tape with sexually aggressive remarks from Trump.

When asked whether Trump’s comments on the campaign trail would make a working relationship difficult if he’s elected to the Senate, Gray side-stepped the question and said he’s “not going to tell people who they should vote for.” Gray is backing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in this year’s presidential contest.

“But what I do believe is that we should be civil in our conversations, and when we get out of line, when we have discourse and engagement that’s inappropriate, that’s not good for America,” he said.

Paul’s campaign dismissed Gray’s talk of partisanship.

“Only a struggling, failing campaign like Jim Gray’s would be brazen enough to lie about Dr. Paul’s well documented record of bipartisan work,” Paul campaign spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper said in a statement.

“Whether its addressing the heroin epidemic with Sen. Markey, tackling criminal justice reform with Sen. Booker, fighting against sexual assault in the military with Sen. Gillibrand, or teaming up with Sen. Boxer to fund our bridges and roads, many of Dr. Paul’s most important legislative proposals and accomplishments are those in which he reached across the aisle and found common ground with Democrats to address issues important to Kentuckians.”

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 kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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