Ky. primary on Tuesday test of tea party strength - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Ky. primary on Tuesday test of tea party strength

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

(FOX19)  - The polls are now open for the primary election in Kentucky, and eyes all across the country are watching one big race: the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Dr. Rand Paul is squaring off against Trey Grayson.

Paul is an eye doctor who is campaigning on a grassroots platform. Grayson is Kentucky's Secretary of State. He's running on his experience.

Paul is rallying major support from the Tea Party.

"If we win, it'll be the biggest victory for a Tea Party candidate in the country," said Paul.

According to Public Policy Polling, Paul leads the state's Republican senate race by double-digits. He's fueling what's being called an anti-establishment mood; featuring supporters who are against "big government." It's a movement largely inspired by the 2008 presidential race of his dad, Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Trey Grayson is currently backed by the state's most powerful politician, senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.

"It's kind of like if you're applying for a job, you want to have some good references on the bottom of your resume," said Grayson. "That's how I view these."

Kentucky's other senator Jim Bunning, who is retiring, endorses Paul. Also, Former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin supports Paul, as well.

"Those two endorsements helped to define the race, as conservative versus the established moderate, and I think that the conservatives in our party now see that there's a clear choice between a conservative and a moderate," said Paul.

And pundits say this race is all about being conservative.

Both men agree on the message of conservative spending. They differ on how to fix the issue.

"We do definitely need financial reform," said Grayson. "One of the biggest concerns is we have to make sure we don't have any more bailouts."

"I think the first thing to recognize for the recession we're in, I blame it on bad, government policy and bad federal reserve policy," said Paul.

Paul's also calling for an end to earmarks. Grayson wants to keep them.

"He's said they're all bad. I said, look at this, this is the number one requirement for our region and you're saying it's pork," said Grayson.

64-percent of voters said the winner of the primary should support Sen. Mitch McConnell's run as Republican leader. Grayson said he'd back McConnell. In a recent debate, Paul said he won't commit to supporting McConnell for the leadership role if he has an opponent.

"I'm not a career politician," said Paul. "I'm a physician. I'm a small biz person. And the politicians have botched it up. Washington's a mess."

"We all agree that Washington is broken," said Grayson. "We need to fix it so we need to send somebody to Washington that's in the best place, best position, to fix it the right way."

There is a U.S. Senate Kentucky democratic primary. It pits Daniel Mongiardo versus Jack Conway.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

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