Many political pundits are ready to crown U.S. Senator Rand Paul as a Kentucky kingmaker following the Congressional primary victory of Thomas Massie.
Paul endorsed tea party candidate Massie, who won the Fourth Congressional GOP primary yesterday. The endorsement was Paul’s first in his home state since becoming Kentucky’s junior senator in 2010.
And while Massie’s campaign benefited from a Super PAC that spent more than a half million dollars in the primary race, former GOP consultant Les Fugate says Paul deserves some credit too.
“To be able to help someone navigate through a seven person primary and win, when frankly across the state tea party candidates didn’t win, to be able to do that says a lot about the senator and his engagement in the race,” he says.
Outside of Kentucky, Paul has spread his endorsements more freely. He's endorsed GOP candidates in Nebraska, New Mexico, Florida and Texas. Fugate says he expects that to continue, but that Paul will likely be more selective endorsing other tea party candidates in Kentucky.
“[He'll] Probably [be] involved more nationally, than he will be back in Kentucky. I would expect him to make more endorsements of tea party like candidates across the country and then when it benefits him politically he’ll get more involved in Kentucky races, Fugate says.
Fugate says he expects Paul to act more like Kentucky's senior senator, Mitch McConnell, when it comes to endorsements and lending a helping hand. After his endorsement of Paul's 2010 GOP opponent backfired, McConnell has been a lot more selective in his endorsements of Kentucky candidates.