Rand Paul set to challenge Jack Conway in Kentucky
If the Tea Party movement hadn't yet achieved political relevance in the eyes of mainstream politicians, it certainly should have moved a step closer when Rand Paul claimed the Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky.
Paul, a respected figure among the Tea Party movement, defeated Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson. His next opponent will be Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.
Even though some of his views -- particularly on foreign policy and security policy -- diverge from mainstream GOP views, Paul hopes that Republicans will united behind his candidacy come November.
"Primaries divide people, but I think generals bring us together," Paul said. "The general election, I think Republicans will pull together and we've already had discussions with the state party about how things will go forward after the primary."
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway will be a key target come November, particularly for the Tea Party movement. Many within that movement believe much of the Obama administration's legislation -- in particular, it's health care reform package -- to be unconstitutional.
For the Tea Party to topple a Democratic candidate with such a high-profile legal background will send a strong message.
Paul's election also poses key challenges to the GOP itself. Trey Grayson was the hand-picked preference of Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell.
If Rand Paul -- the son of former Presidential candidate Ron Paul -- manages to transform his Tea Party appeal into electoral success in November, however, one would have to imagine that McConnell will be satisfied just the same.