Jim Gray

Kentucky Has a Gay Senate Candidate — Does Anybody Care?
America may be closer to a post-gay state of politics than most realize

U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray speaks the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

FANCY FARM, Ky. — Jim Gray walked to the lectern on stage, leaned in to the microphone, and began to speak. Kentucky’s openly gay Senate candidate was making history.

He would say later the boos were so loud he could barely hear his own voice.

Paul Campaign: Debts Will Be Paid Off
Swats back at reports of unpaid bills

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's campaign says it has more cash than bills and all debts will be paid off. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's campaign is pushing back on reports that his unsuccessful presidential campaign has more than $300,000 in debt.  

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Rand Paul for President reported to the Federal Election Commission $301,108 in debts and $2,558 in cash on hand and quoted vendors complaining about unpaid bills.   

Roll Call's Senate Challenger Rankings
The list leans heavily Democratic in a year in which Republicans are playing defense

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has never held office in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In close races, the quality of the candidates can make all the difference. And with a few notable exceptions, most incumbents acquit themselves well with strong fundraising, good campaigns, and a message tailored for victory.  

So this year, Roll Call has decided to rank the Senate challengers — that is, the candidates for office who aren’t incumbents. It’s a list that leans heavily Democratic in 2016, a year when Republicans are playing defense in all but two seats currently considered at all competitive.