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The Most Important Number in Politics Today

368,000

That's the amount that Kentucky businessman and Senate candidate Rand Paul (R) outraised his primary opponent, Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R), by in the third quarter, further evidence of the continued potency of the Internet cash-collecting operation built by his father during the 2008 presidential race.

From July 1 to Sept. 30, Paul, who is the oldest son of Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R), collected $1,011,000, far outdistancing the $643,000 raised by Grayson who enjoys the full support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and the state and national party apparatus.

Of his candidate's fundraising success, Paul campaign manager David Adams said that "the American people are starting to fight back hard against a culture of crybabies and that is why Rand Paul's Kentucky campaign for U.S. Senate is getting more attention."

Um, ok.

Adams said he had no idea how much of Paul's money came via the Internet but it's safe to assume that the same national, web-based fundraising network that helped Ron Paul collect a stunning $50 million for his longshot 2008 presidential bid played a major part in the Kentucky Republican's strong quarter. (That same network has helped investor Peter Schiff raise more than $1 million for his own Senate bid in Connecticut.)

Grayson did everything he could to put a positive slant on the numbers, noting that 92 percent of his contributions came from inside Kentucky and that he ended the period with nearly $1.2 million on hand (as compared to $912,000 for Paul).

It remains to be seen whether Rand Paul (or Schiff) can do more than raise money via the Internet. After all, for all of Ron Paul's fundraising capacity, he was never a serious candidate in a contested primary or caucus and was totally ignored by the likes of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.).

Kentucky Republicans -- regardless of where their loyalties lie -- acknowledge that Rand Paul's candidacy is less of a novelty act than his father's bid since he is a somewhat known commodity in the Bluegrass State. Translating financial support from a national Internet audience into votes in a primary where the entire establishment is behind your opponent is a tricky task, however.

All that aside, it's hard not to be amazed by Paul's fundraising -- especially when compared to what Grayson brought in over the same time period. The money numbers mean that Republicans in Kentucky now have a real primary fight on their hands, the prospect of which has Democrats, who have a bitter primary of their own on tap, downright giddy.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 15, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Comments

The only thing that kept Dr. Paul out of the White House in 2008 was that he couldn't win any primaries or caucuses. If there was a primary for most calls to C-SPAN, he'd have won that one hands down.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 19, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Rand Paul is a known person in Kentucky -- I don't know anyone aware of him outside his region of the state (maybe). I think his support stems from people assuming he is a carbon copy of his father, which may or may not be true.

I liked the "um, ok" editorial comment. That sums it up well!

Posted by: msame | October 17, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Rand has been hitting the trial hard, and even getting national exposure. As long as he can spend wisely and continue pounding the message, I think he eventually becomes the front-runner here.

Then again, I may be underestimating the establishment R's dedication to Greyson...I think they will low a little bit lower with Rand getting all this press, polling, and money. That should compound the positive effects--if McConnell and co aren't overly devoted to the moderate Greyson.

Btw, why would you elect a moderate in KY? It's one of the redest states out there...elect Castle and Kirk in Delaware and Illinois, but Paul in Kentucky. Better reflection of the state, no?

Posted by: lajdawg | October 17, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

thanks to CC for writing SOMETHING about the GOP primary in Kentucky. it's a bellwether for the libertarian-leaning wing of the GOP.

Posted by: millionea7 | October 16, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"Will never for the life of me understand the flypaper power of Ron Paul. Draws in the kooks and sticks'em good. Yeah he has some good ideas but they're mixed with so many awful ones, and then there's the er um problem that he sounds like an idiot. His supporters around here seemed to go in for really big yard signs. Really REALLY big yard signs." -GoldAndTanzanite

Let's do our research. Let's get detail-oriented. What exactly are his awful ideas? I've tried to find one awful idea but have not been able to. He gained popularity on auditing the federal reserve. That seems good. He wants to take down the Dept. of Education. Well, that's good too. No Child Left Behind is a joke. It allows federal gov. to make new regulations to education without new funding. Just let me know about any bad ideas Ron Paul has brought up. IF there are actually in bad ideas, are they comparable to what legislators are doing now?

Posted by: LibertyStall | October 16, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"After all, for all of Ron Paul's fundraising capacity, he was never a serious candidate in a contested primary or caucus"

Maybe you didn't catch the Nevada Caucus where Ron Paul secured a majority of delegates only to have the state convention shut down and the lights turned off by the leadership who then went behind closed doors and gave them all to McCain. There are other stories just like this that happened during the caucus and primaries, funny how none of the "investigative political journalists" can recall or report on any of it.

Posted by: Gmartine | October 16, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Longshot bid?

The only thing that kept Dr. Paul out of the White House in 2008 was his lack of access to, and marginalization by, the old media - TV and newspaper (i.e. The Washington Post).

Objectivity would require mention of the fact that he beat all other GOP candidates hands down on the Internet, and ran neck-in-neck with Obama (who now would like the authority to shut it down at will with S. 773).

Dr. Paul is a true Constitutionalist Statesman who represents all Americans - not just Republicans.

It's time for the crybabies to stop looking for handouts and roll up their OWN sleeves.

Posted by: JLMadrigal | October 16, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Cillizza - Your job is to provide news and analysis. Saying "Um, ok" is worthless.

Posted by: pjonesd | October 16, 2009 3:04 AM | Report abuse

"they kins have mah gun when they pries it from mah COLD DEAD FINGERS"

works for me

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 15, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Trey Grayson is the real "wing nut"; a former Bill Clinton Democrat who WILL TAKE YOUR GUNS KENTUCKY! Republican's, don't believe any attacks the fake Republican Grayson and his Gun grabbing “wing nuts" put on Dr. Paul. Toss the bums out in Washington and elect a real conservative and someone who will fight for Kentucky. Save your Republic and vote for Rand.

Posted by: joe49 | October 15, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Feeling ddown, DDAWD?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 15, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Will never for the life of me understand the flypaper power of Ron Paul. Draws in the kooks and sticks'em good.

Yeah he has some good ideas but they're mixed with so many awful ones, and then there's the er um problem that he sounds like an idiot.

His supporters around here seemed to go in for really big yard signs. Really REALLY big yard signs.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 15, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Grrr...stupid Obama and his not giving me a ticket to his UNO speech!

Just as well, I guess. I'd probably give everyone swine flu or whatever the hell I have.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 15, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

'BALLOON BOY' STORY A HOAX INTENDED TO DEFLECT ATTENTION FROM OBAMA HEALTH CARE MOMENTUM, NEW ORLEANS TRIP?

This boy-in-flying saucer story smacks of a huge staged event. It certainly took the wind out of the sails of Obama's brief New Orleans visit. Funny how these things happen...

But since the MSM attention span is about 30 seconds, we may never know the story behind this psyop...

(CUE "Twilight Zone" music...)

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 15, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

368,000 isn't the most important number, 8 is. That's how many points Rand Paul was behind Trey Grayson in the only Republican primary poll between the two. So Kentucky voters are already interested in this eye surgeon's campaign, even though Paul hasn't spent any money yet. That's what's truly significant CC.

Posted by: freezebeach | October 15, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Rand is doubtlessly not identical to his father, but going by nothing but the name, this certainly sounds like a dream come true for democrats in Kentucky. Democrats seem to have a never ending stream of luck in this race, eh?

Posted by: theamazingjex | October 15, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

If Ron Paul's fundraising trend is any indication of Rand's fundraising ability, he should keep raising much much more.

Considering Trey raised $600k in the 2nd quarter and $640k in the 3rd, it doesn't look like he's going anywhere.

http://www.garyjohnson2012.com

Posted by: libertyrepublican | October 15, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"Ron Paul's fundraising capacity, he was never a serious candidate in a contested primary or caucus"

That is factually incorrect. Ron Paul was WINNING the Nevada caucus so the GOP illegally shut down that caucus.

Ron Paul was also competitive in at least Louisiana and Colorado and Washington states.

Posted by: observers | October 15, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Grayson needs to end his campaign. It's over. 2010 is not the year of the Lindsey Graham Republican. It's the year of the tea party Republican. The longer Grayson stays in to fight against the momentum that has already turned against him and will never turn back, the more it will look like he's only interested in himself and doesn't want to see a Republican win unless it's he.

Posted by: e_rowe | October 15, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The question raised is which constituencies each candidate represents. If R.Paul represents the libertarian wing of the GOP, is it fair to assume Grayson is more from the social conservatives? Which group holds more sway in Kentucky & who will show up for the polls? Sure, collecting money from donors nationwide is great for the campaign fund, but if you can't get voters to show up on primary day, all that cash amounts to a hill of beans. If Grayson's plugged into the church-going vote, R.Paul's financial lead won't much matter.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 15, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

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