Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race has moved at a sluggish pace compared with the heated matchup between Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and Kentucky’s Democratic Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes, two years ago.
Lexington Democratic mayor, Jim Gray, is trying to unseat first-term Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who also made a run for president before suspending his campaign earlier this year. The two have squared off — mostly through spokespeople and written statements — about issues including gun control, revitalizing the coal industry and finding solutions to the opioid epidemic.
The two men finally made a joint public appearance at this year’s Fancy Farm picnic. Paul attacked Gray’s record as the mayor of Lexington, homing in on a development fiasco that has left a giant construction pit in the center of the city’s downtown. Gray attacked Paul for running for president while remaining in the Senate.
I sat down with Gray to talk about the race and the Senate seat. We’ve extended the same invitation to Paul and hope to have an interview with him in the coming weeks.
Listen to my conversation with Jim Gray here.
Gray on relating to rural Kentuckians:
“I grew up in Glasgow, in southern Kentucky. I’m a seventh-generation Kentuckian — spent half my life there. Our family’s business started there, and we’ve done projects all over Kentucky — more than 500 projects in 53 counties in Kentucky. And we’ve helped create more than 20,000 jobs; more than 20,000 people a day walk through the doors of plants built by Gray Construction, and that’s just in Kentucky.”
On Paul’s work in the Senate:
“I’m always gonna give people credit for good intentions, and I would do that. But let’s look at Senator Paul, what he’s actually done while he’s been in the Senate. He’s been focused on the White House. He was sworn in and it wasn’t but a few months before he was actually in Iowa and New Hampshire. Now in full disclosure, admittedly he was was then out stumping for his father. But clearly it transitioned very quickly to he was stumping for himself in other places.”