Hal Rogers Endorses Grayson in Kentucky

Posted May 3, 2010 at 7:24am

Rep. Hal Rogers (R) waded into Kentucky’s GOP Senate primary on Monday with his endorsement of Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

“Kentuckians need a Senator who will work with me and the rest of our federal delegation to fight for our values and priorities,” Rogers said in a statement. “Trey Grayson is the candidate who will do just that. We need him in the U.S. Senate to stop the liberal Democrats from bankrupting our country.”

Grayson is facing eye surgeon Rand Paul in the May 18 primary, and most public polling has shown the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) leading by wide margins. Tea party activists have championed Paul’s outsider campaign in the Bluegrass State, and Paul has embraced that support.

Rogers’ endorsement is important not only because he hails from the 5th district, which is a key Republican area in the state, but also because his entrance into the primary fray could be an indication that the party establishment in the state is moving off the sidelines to play a more active role in getting its preferred candidate as the November nominee.

But while Rogers’ endorsement will be a boost to Grayson, most political observers are waiting to see if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is considered the godfather of Kentucky GOP politics, will endorse in the primary. McConnell has been working behind the scenes to aid Grayson but has yet to come out for Grayson in a public way. Rogers is a top lieutenant to McConnell in the Bluegrass State.

In recent weeks, Grayson has been trying to gain ground on Paul by arguing that he has “strange ideas” on various issues, including abortion. In his endorsement, Rogers also brought up the subject of abortion.

“I need Trey Grayson to join me to fight the liberal policies in Washington because I know he has the conviction to stand up for our values,” Rogers said. “That’s why he is the only candidate endorsed by Kentucky Right to Life.”

The eventual GOP nominee will face either Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo or Attorney General Jack Conway, who are squaring off in the Democratic primary.