Eye surgeon Rand Paul (R) said Wednesday that he has received assurances from the National Republican Senatorial Committee that it will remain neutral in his primary battle against Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson.
“They say they have no plans of getting involved or endorsing anyone in our primary,— said Paul, the son of Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R), in an interview following his telephone conversation with NRSC political director Randy Bumps.
However, NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh disputed Paul’s characterization of the conversation. “We said that while the NRSC does not anticipate making an endorsement we reserve the right to do so,— Walsh said.
NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said earlier this month that the committee would not spend money in contested open-seat primaries. The NRSC has endorsed candidates in four open-seat Senate races — Florida, Missouri, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Since the start of the race, Grayson has been viewed as the frontrunner and the establishment choice, but recent polling numbers showed Paul with a slight lead among primary voters. Grayson has the active fundraising support of Senate Minority Leader and fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell (R), who has been a political mentor to Grayson over the years.
The NRSC’s involvement in the race is less important than McConnell’s support is in Kentucky, but Paul said the conversation is an indication of the growing momentum of his candidacy and a sign that the national party is hedging its bets on who will emerge from the GOP primary.
“I think what it shows is that we have great momentum,— he said. “The people who you might call the establishment are meeting with us taking the opportunity to get to know who we are so we can have cordial relations after the primary.—