Updates in the Florida and Kentucky Senate Races
Many developments have been happening in the highly competitive primaries in both Kentucky and Republican. Both races are to replace a retiring Republican senator and both have highly contentious Republican primaries.
In Kentucky, the biggest news continues to be the rise and popularity of Rand Paul. The son of the iconclastic and libertarian leaning congressman and 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul, Rand has stormed ahead in his primary with establishment-backed Trey Grayson. He has even weathered the first scandal of his campaign, when his campaign coordinator resigned amid the revelation of racist blog posts. In a recent Public Policy Poll, 44% of Republican voters in the state are backing Paul while 25% are supporting Grayson. While the primary is a long way off, it shows just how popular Paul is becoming as well as the anti-establishment mood in the electorate.
Perhaps throwing some gas on the fire in this race is also the emergence of a potential third major candidate for the Republican nomination. At least in terms of money spent, Bill Johnson is making a mark in the race. He recently gave his campaign 250,000 dollars and hopes that this will make an impact on the race. Of course, he has a long way to go. Paul has banked $1.7 million as of October and Grayson has raised $1.2 million.
In somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophesy, Charlie Crist is now running just about even with Marco Rubio in recent polls, despite Crist’s originally smooth path to the nomination. Despite being very popular at the beginning of his run, the sitting governor has been dogged by accusations that he is not conservative enough for the party’s nomination. Rubio has been selected by the far right-wing Tea Bag movement for support and it seems to be paying off. Zogby has the race within 9 points in early December while Rasmussen, which has been criticized heavily recently for its methods, even have the pair tied at 43% apiece.
Both men have ramped up their criticism of each other, flaunting the so called Regan 11th commandment, and it remains to be seen whether Crist can reclaim the party’s mantle that he seemed destined for only a few months ago. It looks a bit ominous. Today, January 5, the head of the Florida Republican Party and a big Crist supporter, James Greer was forced to resign.
In his resignation, Greer said “”I cannot be a participant in the shredding and tearing of the fabric of the Republican party.” It remains to be seen how prescient this statement is.