Rand Paul defeated Republican establishment favorite Trey Grayson in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, a closely watched race that was a key test of the tea party movement's strength.That 59% number has held up all night so far. But the real shocker is it looks like with 95% of the precincts reporting that Jack Conway may eke out a win, he's up by 7,500 votes, 45%-43% over Dan Mongiardo. A Conway/Paul matchup would be outstanding...and the real story is Democrats turned out in greater numbers to vote than the Republicans did for this primary!
Paul, the son of former presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, on Tuesday gave the tea party its first victory in a statewide election — one that could embolden the fledgling political movement in other states. With 31 percent of precincts reporting, Paul was leading with 65,702 votes, or 59 percent, to Grayson's 40,767 votes or 37 percent.
"It's just a tremendous mandate for the tea party," Paul said. "It cannot be overstated that people want something new; they don't want the same old, same old politicians and I think they think the system is broken and needs new blood."
That's pretty heartening, as Kentucky still has a lot of registered Dems...but that means the independents out there like myself who were not eligible for the primaries aren't accounted for tonight except in non-partisan country races.
It's going to be real interesting this fall. Both the establishment candidates lost (although Yellow Dog has a long-standing list of reasons why Conway's about as ConservaDem/Big Coal as they come). But he's got to be better than Rand Paul...
Well, if Conway can hold on...
[UPDATE] AP is calling it for Conway with 99% of the vote counted.