Paul hands tea party an early victory

NEDRA PICKLER - Associated Press
The Associated Press
Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul rubs the head of his 11-year-old son Robert after filling out his ballot in Bowling Green, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.  (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
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Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul rubs the head of his 11-year-old son Robert after filling out his ballot in Bowling Green, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.

Anti-tax crusader Rand Paul's election victory gives the tea party a flag-bearer to send to the Senate and hope that more like-minded Washington outsiders would be elected to Congress.

The first-time candidate and champion of small government upended the Kentucky Senate race by trouncing the Republican establishment's hand-picked candidate in the May primary and winning decisively against Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway on Tuesday.

Candidates with tea party support were on the ballot in more than 70 House races, seven for Senate and three for governor. Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of libertarian hero Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, was elected to a seat held by a Republican, retiring Sen. Jim Bunning.