Kentucky: DeMint Throws Backing to Rand Paul in Primary

Posted May 5, 2010 at 6:33pm

A day after Secretary of State Trey Grayson made a splash by getting the endorsement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), rival Rand Paul landed a big-name endorsement of his own: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

“I’m endorsing Rand Paul because he’s a true conservative who will stand up to the Washington establishment,” DeMint said in a statement.

DeMint doesn’t carry as much clout with primary voters as McConnell, who is considered the godfather of Republican politics in the Bluegrass State, but he is a hero in the conservative movement and held in high regard by many in the tea party movement.

DeMint tried to be careful not to step on McConnell’s toes too much in his home state, saying, “Sen. McConnell and I are on different sides in this race, but I support him as our leader.”

Kentucky’s primary is May 18.

The eventual GOP nominee will face either Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo or Attorney General Jack Conway, who are vying for the Democratic nomination.

Public Policy Polling released the results Wednesday of its survey of possible November matchups.

Its poll of 946 voters found Paul leading Mongiardo 42 percent to 38 percent. When paired against Conway, PPP said Paul was favored by 41 percent of voters surveyed and Conway was favored by 40 percent.

When PPP put Grayson’s name to a general election ballot test, he was favored over Mongiardo 43 percent to 35 percent and preferred over Conway 42 percent to 34 percent. The survey was conducted Saturday and Sunday and had a 3.2-point margin of error.