Nastiest Race in the Country? 'Aqua Buddha,' Personal Attacks Dominate Kentucky Senate Race


Paul, the son of libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, supports limited government, a repeal of the new health care law, and changes in the federal tax code, although he hasn't said what he would do in that regard if he were elected to the Senate.

The ophthalmologist is banking on the anti-Washington agenda momentum that has gripped the state and the country.

Conway in turn has tried to paint Paul's view on Social Security as out of the norm, and run on the platform of protecting Social Security, providing tax breaks for small businesses, and improving education.

Most recently, Conway has seized on Paul's comments from earlier this year where he suggested replacing the federal income tax with a sales tax, a comment that Paul's campaign has attempted to downplay.

But the Kentucky attorney general faces a tough road in the next week and a half in a state where President Obama's disapproval rating is high and views on the health care law and government spending don't favor Democrats.

Fifty-six percent of likely voters disapprove of Obama's performance as president, and 52 percent favor repealing the health care law, according to the Mason-Dixon poll.

To take advantage of this discontent, Paul -- like many of his counterparts -- has sought to tie Conway to Obama. The Conway campaign is hoping to build support with the help of Bill Clinton, who took a trip to Kentucky to rally for the Democratic candidate and will return to the state again on the eve of the election to campaign for Conway. Hillary Clinton defeated Obama in Kentucky's 2008 presidential primary.

Conway's ad has garnered nationwide attention for Conway and lifted his visibility but analysts say it hasn't done much to swing the tide either way.

"Did it seal his fate? I don't think this would be something that drove the nail in the coffin if the coffin hadn't already been sealed," Gershtenson said.

Conway will likely up his attack as Nov. 2 approaches. His strategy, experts say, will be to undermine support for Paul and continue to paint his views as out of the norm.

"The challenge is that Democrats have got to get more excited. They've got to kick in and do it," said W. Terry McBrayer, a Democratic lobbyist and senior partner for the Lexington law firm of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland. "What I have seen is that he (Paul) has flatlined and is not going to get any more votes. It's our job to take it from him."

Paul's campaign, meanwhile, is likely to continue attacking Democrats' record and connecting Conway more closely to Obama while at the same time assuring voters of his own Christian faith and sensibility.

Both campaigns have attracted millions of dollars. According to local reports, Paul raised $2.6 million in the third quarter and has nearly $1.5 million in the bank. Conway raised $1.7 million and has roughly $1 million.

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