Rand Paul and Jim Gray both promise to focus on Kentucky
The U.S. Senate race takes shape as the Lexington mayor faces a former presidential candidate.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The stage is now set for a fall showdown to claim Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat.
It's a race between the businessman mayor of Lexington and the first-term senator Time Magazine once called the most interesting man in politics.
On Tuesday night, Jim Gray celebrated his victory over six Democratic rivals.
Gray won 59 percent to 13 percent over his closest rival.
“What Kentucky needs is an advocate, a true champion for our people,” Gray told the crowd.
On the other hand, no celebration was held for Sen. Rand Paul, who easily won the Republican primary, beating two challengers with 85 percent of the vote.
Usually highly visible, Paul spent primary night quietly in Washington D.C. because of Senate business. He released a video thanking his supporters.
“It's high time we consider what is best for Kentucky. It's high time we put Kentucky first,” Paul said on the video.
That figures to be a key theme of the campaign; who will work hardest for Kentucky.
Gray is in his second term as Lexington mayor after helping build the family construction business.
He criticizes Paul for being more concerned about the White House.
“Sen. Paul has spent most of his career running for President, where my family's business has been about building things, about building and creating jobs,” Gray said.
Paul points to his 96 percent voting record.
“In fact, I consider myself to be a great defender of Kentucky against Pres. Obama and against Hillary Clinton's war against our state,” said Paul in an interview.
In fact, both could Gray and Paul face challenges from the top of the ballot.
Paul will attempt to tie Gray to Hillary Clinton, who is very unpopular in the state's coal fields.
“My focus will be on the Senate race and on bringing jobs and helping those people who have lost jobs in eastern Kentucky. That's what I know about,” Gray said.
Paul will likely face pressure to answer for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump's more controversial comments.
“All I can control is what I say and do,” Paul said.
Both campaigns should be well-funded, and if the race appears close, look for outside groups to spend millions on attack ads.
You can see the results of all the primary races here.
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