Rand Paul Takes Center Stage At GOP Fundraiser
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Libertarian-leaning Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul, who calls himself a political outsider, took center stage at a high-dollar fundraiser Thursday evening that highlighted his trip to Washington, D.C., to hobnob with insiders.
Rand Paul was the guest of honor at the event at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Tickets went for $1,000 per person, with sponsorships up to $5,000 per group.
By appearing at the fundraiser, Rand Paul seemed to back off a campaign promise to avoid GOP lawmakers who voted for the massive 2008 financial bailout. Nine of 12 GOP senators listed on the invitation voted for the $700 billion bank bailout.
During his visit to Washington, Rand Paul had a series of private meetings with a number of Republican senators. He also appeared at a small-dollar fundraiser at an Irish pub in Washington on Wednesday evening.
Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton estimated the crowd Thursday at a couple hundred, but did not have an estimate on the amount of campaign cash raised.
"I am told the room is full," Benton said in a statement.
In his remarks, Paul stuck to his main themes of balanced budgets, term limits and "adherence to the Constitution," Benton said.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky hosted the fundraiser, though he backed Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the GOP primary.
McConnell predicted Paul would join him in the Senate after the November election, saying Paul's message of fiscal conservatism and limited government will catch on with voters.
"Rand's message of reining in outrageous Washington spending is resonating throughout Kentucky," McConnell said in a statement.
Paul, a Bowling Green eye doctor, is running against Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat, for the seat of Sen. Jim Bunning, a Republican who is retiring after two terms.
The event is part of a big fundraising push by Paul, who has three such events next week.
Paul is hoping to rake in another bonanza of cash on Monday through an online fundraising blitz organized by supporters. He also has fundraisers planned in Lexington and Louisville.
Both Paul and Conway are scrambling for cash before the current fundraising quarter wraps up at the end of June. Campaign-finance reports for the quarter will be scrutinized to see if either campaign has a fundraising edge that could give a burst of momentum.