National media outlets are starting to take note of the fact that Rand Paul has a legitimate chance of becoming the next Senator from Kentucky. This from the Journal’s subscription only Political Diary:
Who says you can’t learn something from your parents? Ask Rand Paul, son of last year’s presidential wunderkind, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas.
The younger Mr. Paul, an eye surgeon, is making a spirited run for Kentucky’s open Senate seat, which is being vacated by Republican Jim Bunning. Earlier this week the campaign reported it had sucked up a whopping $1 million in the third quarter alone, much of that accomplished by Mr. Rand tapping into his father’s extensive, online grassroots national network. Mr. Paul’s total swamped the haul of Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the favored candidate of the party leadership. Mr. Grayson announced about $643,000, and that’s after getting fundraising aid from Senate Minority Leader (and Kentucky Senator) Mitch McConnell.
The numbers have suddenly thrown a new light on the race. Mr. Grayson was figured a shoo-in for the nomination in next May’s primary. But Mr. Paul’s fundraising mojo, along with a recent Rasumussen poll showing him nearly as popular as Mr. Grayson in hypothetical matchups against Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, may have some handicappers rethinking.
Rand Paul (yes, he’s named after the famous novelist) might also be a sign of the times. Like his father, he has a libertarian bent, and has focused the race on runaway federal spending, deficits, bailouts and earmarks — issues that Kentucky voters are eating up right now, as they worry about Washington and its spending binges. Mr. Grayson still has plenty going for him, including name recognition and a national party network to leverage to his advantage. But the younger Paul is a newcomer worth watching.
– Kim Strassel
One correction to the WSJ report: As Rand (shortened from Randal) explains in this video, he wasn’t named after Ayn Rand, even though he is a fan.