Rand Paul Now Has Competition For His Senate Seat

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent

The Democratic mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, Jim Gary, announced Tuesday that he is running for the U.S Senate. This gives current Senator [crscore]Rand Paul[/crscore] competition back home as his poll numbers falter in the Republican presidential race.

Prior to be being elected mayor in 2011, Gray was Chairman and CEO of Gray Construction — a multi-national engineering, agriculture, and construction company. “As your Senator I won’t just talk, I’ll listen. I’ll offer common sense solutions. And I’ll work to restore the American dream for every family in Kentucky,” said Gray in a press release.

He also knocked Paul for his presidential run and hit him for cutting defense spending: “Senator Paul has put his own ambition ahead of Kentuckians and is behind policies that would hurt Kentucky families. He voted for a plan that would double healthcare costs for our seniors and supports privatizing Social Security. He supported massive cuts of over $160 billion to our military, and Senator Paul signed a pledge to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.”

Paul had aggressively lobbied the Kentucky Republican Party to change election rules to allow him to run for both the Senate and the White House at the same time. In order for him to not have his name appear on the ballot for two offices simultaneously, Kentucky had to switch from a primary state to a caucus. Paul pledged $450,000 towards the effort. The only other Republican senator running for president who would’ve been up for re-election is [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore], and he opted out.

In October, it was reported that Sen. [crscore]Mitch McConnell[/crscore] had been urging Paul to concentrate on the Kentucky Senate race. Sen. Paul brushed off worries then about his prospects saying, “I have no opponent and I probably have the highest poll numbers in the state.”