Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul holds a sizable fundraising advantage over Democratic challenger Charles Booker heading into the final months of their race to the top of the ticket in Kentucky.
Paul raised more than $3.1 million in the three-month period to June, while Booker raised more than $1.3 million, according to each campaign. Paul has bolstered his campaign cash reserves, with $9.2 million still in the bank. Booker had about $900,000 in his campaign account.
Paul – a former presidential candidate seeking a third term in the Senate in November – is “better positioned than ever” to be re-elected, said Jake Cox, his deputy campaign manager.
“Rand Paul’s pro-freedom message continues to resonate with Kentuckians who depend on him to defend their freedoms in the Senate,” Cox said in a press release.
Booker, a former state legislator, acknowledged that Paul could “put all his big money” into the campaign, but insisted he could overcome the disparity. Booker pointed to his campaign’s “growing numbers” among small donors. He acknowledged that “more financial contributions are essential” while emphasizing that his campaign is “winning and worth the investment”.
In a statement, Booker said he was “proud to be a people-funded campaign. The people of Kentucky deserve a US senator who sees them and will fight for them.
Kentucky has not elected a Democrat to the US Senate in three decades. The Senate race has at times seemed to be overshadowed by the state’s emerging gubernatorial race in 2023. Several Republican hopefuls are vying for the edge in what promises to be a fiercely competitive GOP gubernatorial primary next spring. Democratic Governor Andy Beshear is seeking a second term.
The campaign between Paul and Booker is a battle between radically different philosophies.
Booker is a progressive who promotes social programs such as Medicare for All and a universal basic income, saying these initiatives would lift people from poor urban neighborhoods into struggling rural communities. He also supports a clean energy agenda and changes in criminal justice.
Paul is a libertarian-leaning conservative first elected to the Senate in the Tea Party wave of 2010. Paul rails against socialism and big government agendas that he believes encroach on individual freedoms and increase the national debt. The senator also denounces what he sees as government overreaching in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Booker is the first black Kentuckian in state history to be the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.