LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has won the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in Kentucky to set up a fall campaign against Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

Gray promoted his city hall and business experience in his campaign against six underfunded Democratic opponents in Tuesday's primary.

Gray is running as an openly gay candidate in a state where Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis drew widespread attention last year for her opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Democrat helped build his family's successful construction company, and he dipped into his personal wealth to make a $1 million loan to his campaign.

Kentucky Democrats last won a U.S. Senate election in 1992.


Precincts Reporting: 3683 of 3696

JIM GRAY:                    240,251 votes; 59%

SELLUS WILDER:           52,575 votes; 13%

RON LEACH:                   38,887 votes; 10%

TOM RECKTENWALD:    21,879 votes;    5%

GRANT SHORT:              21,484 votes;    5%

JEFF KENDER:               20,176 votes;    5%

RORY HOULIHAN:          13,586 votes;    3%

Wilder is a filmmaker inspired by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Leach served multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. During debate, he called the reliance on big campaign fund-raising in the race a "corrosive, cancerous problem."

For his part, candidate Rechtenwald denounced what he called a system of trying to buy votes with campaign ads and mailers. He's refusing to accept campaign donations.

Gray said his status in the race is due to his experience as a businessman and mayor of Lexington. Gray bolstered his campaign account with his $1 million loan to his campaign.

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.