[credit provider=”Gage Skidmore via Flikr”]
The main story out of last night’s Kentucky primaries has been the Bluegrass State’s apparent distaste for President Barack Obama. But the really interesting results of the night were at the House level, where Rand Paul protégé Thomas Massie scored a landslide victory over his Establishment-backed opponents in the Republican primary for Kentucky’s 4th District Congressional seat.
Massie, a Tea Party-backed county judge, was relatively unknown when he entered the race, but shot to the top of the field this month with endorsements from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Tea Party groups.
The win was a major coup for the Paul-inspired Liberty Movement, sending a strong signal to the GOP about the growing power of Ron Paul’s political acolytes. In addition to Rand Paul’s endorsement, Massie got a big boost from Liberty For All, a Texas-based Super PAC founded by 21-year-old Ron Paul fan John Ramsey. The group spent more than $550,000 on the race, flooding the Kentucky and Ohio media markets with ads supporting Massie and attacking his rivals.
Massie’s dramatic upset is the most high-profile evidence so far that Ron Paul’s plan to take over the Republican Party with so-called “Liberty” candidates might actually be working. With the elder Paul out of the running for the Republican nomination, his youthful supporters are turning their political energy — and donations — to promoting down-ballot races and state conventions.
“[Massie] is just the latest example of the liberty-minded, strict constitutionalist candidates that are coming out of the Liberty Movement — and that is because of Ron Paul,” said Jack Hunter, the official blogger for the Ron Paul campaign. “This is exactly why Ron Paul is still running for president — and there will be more Thomas Massies.”
Hunter, who also co-wrote Rand Paul’s book The Tea Party Goes To Washington, added that Massie’s win also shows the growing political clout of Senator Paul, underscoring the potentially powerful alliance he is building between his father’s Revolution and the Tea Party movement.
“The story yesterday was that Rand Paul put his credibility on the line and that this was a referendum on the Tea Party — and I think that was accurate,” Hunter told Business Insider. “This is as much a win for Rand Paul as it is for Thomas Massie.”