Will Fox News Throw the Kentucky Primary?
Fresh on the heels of its big victory in pushing Florida Gov. Charlie Crist out of the GOP primary for that state's open U.S. Senate seat, and its ouster of U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett in the Utah GOP convention, the Tea Party movement is flexing its muscles with a likely win in Kentucky's GOP Senate primary.
Tomorrow offers a big test of the movement's power, with Rand Paul, son of the libertarian-but-anti-choice quixotic presidential candidate (Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex.), poised to win the Kentucky's Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against Trey Grayson, the Ky. secretary of state. Paul the younger is seen as the Tea Party candidate in the bluegrass state.
In some ways, Rand Paul is an exception to the ways in which the Tea Party movement's organizing usually works; he's benefited from the organizing done for his father's 2008 presidential campaign, arriving to the Kentucky race with something of a ready-made grass-roots following. Nonetheless, a win by Rand Paul will signal a repudiation of Republican leaders. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said to be popular in Kentucky, endorsed Grayson, as has former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Today, reports Dave Weigel at Right Now, his Washington Post blog, finds Grayson complaining not only about Paul's dad-vantage, but also whining about not being able to get any love from Fox News while Rand Paul, Grayson says, "he's on all of the time."
And there may be something to that (though Weigel seems not to be buying it). Does Fox's embrace of Rand Paul -- and the relative absence of Trey Grayson from its air -- amount to a de facto endorsement by Fox of Rand Paul?