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Kentucky Senate Race

Incumbent -- Jim Bunning (R) ; Will retire at end of current term (announced July 27, 2009)

Leans Republican
Race Ratings Key

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Eye surgeon Rand Paul, the son of Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R), continues to ride the tea party wave that helped him earn an upset victory in the GOP primary.

The conservative nature of Kentucky and favorable environment give Republicans inherent advantages this cycle, and most public polling gives him the edge over Attorney General Jack Conway (D).

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But the race bears watching as Paul's propensity for making controversial statements could still cause a late shift.

Conway's first negative ad focused on a comment Paul made, in which he indicated that nonviolent crimes shouldn't be against the law. Conway pounced on the comment as a way to show that Paul is out of touch with Kentucky voters. Paul's primary opponent was unsuccessful in his attempt to tag the tea party candidate as a man with "strange ideas," but Democrats think they can make that case in the general election. They've already attacked him for questioning the government's role in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and for describing drug use as not being a pressing issue in Kentucky.

Both national committees have signaled their intentions to play in Kentucky. The race is likely to come down to whether voters think Paul is too extreme or whether they think Conway will be rubber stamp for his national party leadership in Washington.


State Information

U.S. Senate Delegation: 3 Republicans
U.S. House Delegation:

Kentucky's Other Senator

Sen.†Mitch McConnell-R
First Elected: 1984 (5th term)
Last Elected: 2008 (52.97%)

State Offices

Governor: Steven L. Beshear, D
First Elected: 2007 (2nd term)
State House Control: Democratic
State Senate Control: Republican

State Election History
Year Election Candidate Votes Percent
2010 general Rand Paul (R) 755,411 55.7%
Jack Conway (D) 599,843 44.2%
2004 general Jim Bunning (R) 873,507 50.7%
Daniel Mongiardo (D) 850,855 49.3%
1998 general Jim Bunning (R) 569,817 49.7%
Scotty Baesler (D) 563,051 49.2%
Charles R. Arbegust (REF) 12,546 1.1%
Vote For President
Year Democrat Republican Independent
2012 + : :
2008 Barack Obama: 41.17% John McCain: 57.4%
2004 John Kerry: 40% George W. Bush: 60%
2000 Al Gore: 41% George W. Bush: 57%
+ Nearly complete, unofficial returns

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