IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Paul says he owes success to tea party

Paul said he was the "right messenger at the right time" to emerge from political obscurity with the rise of the tea party.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Republican Senate hopeful Rand Paul said Tuesday he couldn't have won the GOP nomination in Kentucky without support from the tea party, and claimed the movement criticizes Republicans and Democrats equally.

"An interesting thing about it is, it's equal parts chastisement to both parties," Paul said on Fox News Channel.

However, tea party candidates have run as Republicans, and the movement has identified with the GOP, particularly criticizing Democrats.

Paul, a Bowling Green eye doctor, said the tea party offered an "open mike" for unhappy voters.

"What's different is both the Republican and the Democrat party are not set up for people to come and express their mind," Paul said.

He said tea party groups ask him if he'll vote against Republicans over spending and other issues, but he didn't say how he responds to those questions. Later, campaign manager Jesse Benton said Paul has "made it very clear that Republicans and Democrats have been spending too much money, and he will vote against any unbalanced budget, whether it be Republican or Democrat."

Paul said he was the "right messenger at the right time" to emerge from political obscurity with the rise of the tea party. He faces Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway for the seat of Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, who is retiring after two terms.