Republican Sen. Rand Paul wins 3rd term in Kentucky

Nov 8, 2022, 5:22 PM | Updated: 9:12 pm
Supporters hold up signs as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, gives his victory speech at the Bowling Green Cou...

Supporters hold up signs as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, gives his victory speech at the Bowling Green Country Club after defeating Democratic candidate Charles Booker, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Bowling Green, Ky. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

(AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a libertarian-leaning conservative and former presidential candidate, won a third term Tuesday by defeating a rival from the other end of the political spectrum, progressive Democrat Charles Booker.

First elected in the tea party-driven wave of 2010, Paul’s victory extended a long GOP winning streak in Kentucky Senate races. The Bluegrass State hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since Wendell Ford in 1992.

Booker was the first Black Kentuckian to run as the state’s Democratic nominee for the Senate, but his trailblazing campaign came up short against Paul. It was Booker’s second bid for the Senate. In 2020, he barely lost the Democratic Senate primary to an establishment-backed rival routed that year by Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell in the general election.

Paul has gained a national voice in promoting limited government and restraint in U.S. foreign policy. One of the Senate’s most contrarian voices, he also denounced what he views as government overreach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul echoed those libertarian themes in declaring victory Tuesday night.

“We come together under the belief that government is instituted among men and women to preserve our God-given freedom, period,” Paul said. “Our desire is not to rule over others, but to largely leave people alone.”

Paul also called for a lowering of the nation’s political temperature coming out of the election.

“It is my hope that as our nation moves forward, the anger, the vitriol and even the death threats will abate,” he said. “Surely there is common cause in the concept that a limited, constitutional government allows people from all walks of life to live peacefully together.”

After a dozen years as senator, Paul has regularly gone his own way, even putting himself at odds with his own party. The outspoken conservative has railed repeatedly against socialism, foreign aid and what he sees as excessive spending that he blames for driving up the nation’s debt.

Paul defied leaders of both parties this spring when he briefly delayed Senate approval of an additional $40 billion to help Ukraine withstand Russia’s invasion. Paul wanted language inserted that would have an inspector general scrutinize the new spending. Paul has voted against federal farm bills — vitally important for Kentucky’s agriculture sector — balking at the cost and its food aid sections.

The two candidates offered starkly different approaches to politics in GOP-trending Kentucky. Nationally, the outcome figured into the count for determining which party would control the Senate for the rest of Democrat Joe Biden’s term as president.

Booker, a former state lawmaker, promoted such social programs as Medicare for All and a basic universal income. He sought broad voter support with his “hood to the holler” campaign plank, vowing to uplift poor urban neighborhoods and struggling rural communities alike. He also backed criminal justice reforms.

In 2020, when he narrowly lost the Democratic Senate primary and a bid to face McConnell, Booker’s racial and economic justice message garnered him attention amid nationwide protests over the deaths of Black Americans in encounters with police.

The candidates’ differences aside, a pair of social media ads brought controversy to the campaign.

Shortly before a TV debate that Paul declined to take part in, he released a video that claimed Booker “doesn’t believe in civil discourse, only violence” and falsely conflated an attack years ago on Paul by a neighbor with violence during social protests that Booker had nothing to do with. Paul had several ribs broken and eventually underwent lung surgery for injuries he suffered when his neighbor slammed into him outside his Kentucky home in 2017. Earlier that year, Paul took cover when a gunman opened fire while GOP members of Congress practiced for a charity baseball game.

The video also accused Booker of associating with members of the “radical left” who it said condone and perpetrate violence. Booker responded that Paul was using “racially charged dog whistles” and said the ad had “dangerous and dishonest rhetoric.”

Booker appeared in an online ad with a noose around his neck to draw attention to Paul’s position on anti-lynching legislation. The ad zeroed in on Paul’s efforts to stall the legislation in 2020. At the time, Paul said the bill was drafted too broadly and could define minor assaults as lynching. The ad failed to mention that Paul co-sponsored a new version of the bill that cleared Congress and was signed into law by Biden.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - An election worker verifies a ballot on a screen inside the Maricopa County Recorders Office...
Associated Press

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts: ___ Arizona election equipment was certified ahead of midterms CLAIM: Election equipment in Arizona […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Former President Donald Trump announces a third run for president as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago...
Associated Press

Prosecution resumes closing argument at Trump Org. trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors resumed their closing argument Friday in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial, promising to share previously unrevealed details about Donald Trump’s knowledge of a tax dodge scheme hatched by one of his top executives. “Donald Trump knew exactly what was going on with his top executives,” Assistant Manhattan District […]
10 hours ago
FILE - The FTX logo appears on home plate umpire Jansen Visconti's jacket at a baseball game with t...
Associated Press

The pandemic, Karens, crypto craziness: We’re over you, 2022

NEW YORK (AP) — The rudeness pandemic, the actual pandemic and all things gray. There’s a lot to leave behind when 2022 comes to a close as uncertainty rules around the world. The health crisis brought on the dawn of slow living, but it crushed many families forced to hustle for their lives. Karens went […]
10 hours ago
Residents wearing masks cross an intersection in Beijing, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. More cities eased r...
Associated Press

WHO pleased to see China ease harsh zero COVID policies

LONDON (AP) — A top official at the World Health Organization said the U.N. agency was “pleased” to see China loosening some of its coronavirus restrictions, saying “it’s really important that governments listen to their people when the people are in pain.” At a press briefing on Friday, WHO emergencies director Dr. Michael Ryan said […]
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Top exec at pharmacy in deadly meningitis outbreak sentenced

BOSTON (AP) — A former co-owner of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy at the center of a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak that resulted in more than 100 patient deaths has been sentenced to a year in prison for conspiring to defraud the federal government. Gregory Conigliaro, 57, as the vice president and general manager of the […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Paul Whelan, a former U.S. marine who was arrested for alleged spying, listens to the verdic...
Associated Press

Brother of Russia-imprisoned American says contact resumed

MOSCOW (AP) — The family of Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage, said Friday that he has resumed contact after unexpectedly becoming unreachable in November. Along with WNBA star Brittney Griner, Whelan is the focus of efforts by the United States to arrange a prisoner swap with Russia. The Associated Press and […]
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul wins 3rd term in Kentucky