Republican Sen. Rand Paul defeats Democrat Charles Booker in Kentucky's US Senate election

Kentucky senate
Cliff Owen/AP Photo; Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo; Insider
  • Sen. Rand Paul is running against Democrat Charles Booker to represent Kentucky in the US Senate.

  • Booker is the first Black person to be a major party nominee for US Senate in Kentucky.

  • Paul has an enormous fundraising edge over Booker.

Republican incumbent Sen. Rand Paul is projected to have defeated Democrat Charles Booker in Kentucky's Senate race.

Decision Desk HQ and Insider projected at 7:00 pm Eastern Time that Paul would win his third term.



Kentucky's Senate race candidates

Elected to the US Senate in 2010, Paul is vying for his 3rd term to represent Kentucky. He is the son of former Republican congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Paul was a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 but suspended his campaign after placing fifth in the Iowa Caucus. In 2017, Paul sustained significant injuries after a neighbor attacked him.

Paul believes that "life begins at conception and that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being," per his website, and strongly opposes any federal funding of abortion. His economic views are notably libertarian, and Paul has been a consistent voice against "reckless levels of spending" by the federal government.

Prior to his election to the Senate, Paul worked as an ophthalmologist in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Booker, Paul's challenger, became the youngest Black state legislator in nearly a century when he was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2018. He's the first Black person to be a major party nominee for US Senate in Kentucky.

Booker, 38, has also served as director of administrative services for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. In 2020, Booker ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Senate nomination against Amy McGrath, who in turn was defeated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the general election.

Kentucky's voting history

The state voted for then-President Donald Trump over Joe Biden by a margin of 26 percentage points in the 2020 election. Kentucky has voted for the Republican candidate in every presidential election cycle since 2000.

The money race

According to OpenSecrets, Paul has raised $26.4 million, spent $20.4 million, and has $6.2 million cash on hand, as of October 19.

His challenger, Booker, has raised $6.1 million, spent $5.8 million, and has $288,825 cash on hand, as of October 19.

As of late October, over a dozen super PACs, national party committees, politically active nonprofits, and other non-candidate groups had combined to spend about $1.3 million to advocate for or against candidates in this race, including during the race's primary phase. Paul has benefitted from most of that money.

What experts say

The race between Paul and Booker is rated as "solid Republican" by Inside Elections, "solid Republican" by The Cook Political Report, and "safe Republican" by Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

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