So is Rand Paul, on a personal level, just a deeply unlikeable guy? One of the weird things about his acceptance speech last night was that he held it at the local country club — to what looked uncannily like a members only crowd. This morning he defended the venue by saying that Tiger Woods has made golf a lot more popular. More to the point, news came out overnight that Paul allegedly refused to take Trey Grayson’s concession phone call last night.
I think this last charge requires a little caution. The one making the charge is Grayson’s campaign manager, who obviously is far from a neutral observer. And Paul’s campaign manager says it wasn’t a sleight. He was just “in transit and could not take the call.” So who knows?
But I am getting the impression that Paul — aside from just being very unlikeable in personal terms — may be a much more divisive figure than one might from any Tea Party candidate who snatches away a nomination from an establishment party figure. The PA Senate race was really hard fought. And Sestak is going to have to put in a lot of time making peace with Arlen Specter supporters. But a poll out yesterday showed that Grayson supporters in Kentucky simply hate Rand Paul in a way that goes way beyond the normal aftermath of a contested primary. From PPP’s write-up of their poll …
53% of likely Grayson voters for today have an unfavorable opinion of Paul to only 23% with a positive opinion of him. More importantly though just 40% of Grayson voters say they’ll support Paul in the general election if he wins the Republican nomination with 43% explicitly saying they will not.
I get the sense there’s a whole issue of personality (and messianism) that’s going to be in play in that race beyond quite apart from ideology narrowly construed.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.