There is an interesting U.S. senate race going on in Kentucky. This race is wide open since incumbent Republican Senator Jim Bunning announced his retirement.
Senator Bunning barely won reelection last time beating Democrat his challenger Dan Mongiardo, 873,507 votes (50.7%) to 850,855 votes (49.3%). Sen. Bunning's approval rating in Kentucky had recently slipped to 43% and he was having trouble raising money for a run again in 2010. These were some of the factors that have led to his retirement. Democrats have high hopes to gain this seat from the Republicans in 2010.
On the Democrat side, Kentucky Attoney General Jack Conway is running against Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, the man who almost won the U.S. Senate seat in 2004. According to the latest polling Lt. Gov. Mongiardo holds a 39% to 31% lead over Jack Conway. Both men are no strangers to Kentucky politics.
Lt. Gov. Mongiardo holds some fairly conservative views on social issues. If elected Mongiardo would probably be one of the more moderate Democrats in the Senate.
On the Republican side, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson is running against Randal (Rand for short) Paul. Trey Grayson was once considered the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party but Rand Paul has made the race much more interesting.
Former Democrat, Trey Grayson, the two-term Kentucky Secretary of State, is no stranger to Kentucky politics. That is why it came as a shock when a poll came out this week showing Grayson only leading Rand Paul 37% to 26% in the Republican primary; Rand Paul is a newcomer to Kentucky politics and has never ran for political office. Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist from Bowling Green and the son of Congressmen and former Presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Another equally big shock is that Rand Paul is polling within a statistical dead heat against well-known Democratic front-runner Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (43% Mongiardo to 41% Paul). This is big news because Rand Paul has only been campaigning for a few months and has only officially been a candidate for a few weeks! Rand Paul is doing particularly well with voters aged 18 to 34. In that age group Paul is leading Grayson 43% to 13%.
Although Grayson is now the frontrunner (leading Mongiardo 46% - 40%), with polls this close and the amounts the candidates are raising, this race is definitely wide open. Who knows? We may be saying Senator Paul in the near future.
To find out where the candidates stand on the issues: For Rand Paul click here.