Rand Paul’s campaign manager talks to the establishment Republican he ambushed in 2010
This piece is part of our Jan. 7, 2018, Reflection Issue, in which we take a break from the daily onslaught of news and controversy and try to get some perspective by reexamining the past. Last fall, we gathered newsmakers who took part in pivotal moments in national politics over the past 30 years, had them talk about those events and possibly glean new lessons and insights. One of the moments we revisited was the 2010 Republican Senate primary in Kentucky, which heralded the arrival of the tea party in Washington. It was supposed to be a sleepy race. Trey Grayson — who, despite being in his 30s, was in his second term as Kentucky secretary of state — was considered a shoo-in, thanks to the backing of party leaders, including the state’s most prominent politician, Senate minority leader (now majority leader) Mitch McConnell. Then, Rand Paul — an ophthalmologist and son of Texas congressman, well-known libertarian and former presidential hopeful Ron Paul — entered the race. Though he lived in Bowling Green, Rand Paul had not been involved much in Kentucky politics. But with the help of his dad’s supporters around the country and the tea party movement, he defeated Grayson in the primary and went on to win the general election.
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