Updated at 11:07 ET
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The tea party movement got its best chance at winning a seat in the U.S. Senate tonight when Kentucky voters chose Rand Paul as the the GOP nominee. As expected, Paul has won decisively, dealing a blow to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP establishment, which spent much time and effort trying defeat Paul's insurgent campaign and secure the nomination for Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson.
Rand currently leads Grayson by 59% to 35% with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.
Paul faces a general election campaign that will put the purest form of the tea party message on the Senate ballot so far this year. Democrats are enjoying the opportunity to mock McConnell for losing a battle with the ultra-right in his home state, but they haven't said much about how they plan to beat Paul themselves. Republicans, meanwhile, have said they're ready to stand behind Paul and say signs are good he'll hold the seat for the GOP.
The polls give Republicans reason to be confident -- Paul has performed well against Democrats in hypothetical matchups all year, and definitely starts the general election race as the frontrunner. In a matchup with Democratic nominee Jack Conway, the TPM Poll Average shows Paul ahead by a margin of 44.7-38.4.