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Establishment Is Pitted Against Tea Party in Kentucky

But Grayson, who had the backing of the GOP establishment in his 2010 primary and experienced a similar dynamic, said it is unlikely to sway a lot of voters. Grayson said he polled on the issue of out-of-state money during his contentious primary against Paul, who had significant non-Kentucky fundraising, and it didn’t move the needle.

“I’m not sure the voters care too much about it,” he said.

Massie said he thought he had the edge and likened primary turnout in his race to the Grayson-Paul contest.

“I think our voters are the kind of folks that elected Rand Paul, who has endorsed me,” Massie said in an interview. “They’re the kind of folks who would show up in a tornado” to vote.

But some operatives in the state see Webb-Edgington as having a clearer path to victory. “In a seven-way primary, I gotta put my money on the woman,” one Republican said, noting she’ll be the only woman on the ballot.

Another complicating factor is the negative direct mail from candidates about each other and from super PACs about the candidates. “Anytime you’ve got three people in a race, it’s like walking into a metal room and shooting a gun,” the GOP observer of state politics said. “The bullet can ricochet.”

The winner of the GOP primary on Tuesday is almost certain to be the next Member of Congress.

Roll Call rates the race as Safe Republican.

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