Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is taking sides in two key open-seat Republican primaries for Senate, Chris Cillizza reports, with an upcoming fundraiser for Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte.
Both of these candidates are in primary races. Grayson is being opposed by Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), with similar small-government libertarian positions. Ayotte is running against businessmen Jim Bender and William Binnie, and former state Board of Education chairman Ovide Lamontagne.
In the Kentucky race, Rand Paul recently had a gaffe in which he failed to fully commit to supporting McConnell for Republican leader — not the best move to make in McConnell’s own state, where he is the biggest name in the state GOP.
Late Update: The Rand Paul campaign has given us this statement from the candidate:
After the primary, I will want to work with Senator McConnell. We will need each other. He and I agree on many issues such as the unconstitutionality of McCain-Feingold.
Until then, it would be unfair of me to to ask Grayson to compete on his own merits, all by himself. I think the only way we can be evenly matched is for him to have significant help from DC insiders, PACs, and special interest money.
Even then, it will likely not be enough. 2010 will be the year of the outsider. The Tea Party movement wants reform of government and they are embracing our message of Term Limits, Balanced Budgets, and the Read the Bills Act.