Politics & Government

While Rand Paul makes news, opponent keeps head down

FRANKFORT — While Republican Rand Paul has dominated news coverage of Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, has been far less visible.

National media fascination with Tea Party favorite Paul is responsible for much of the difference, but Conway also seems to have deliberately pursued a more low-key approach than Paul in the months since the May primary.

Both candidates have been heavily involved in raising much-needed funds for costly TV ads in the fall, when most voters pay attention to the race.

But Conway, the state's attorney general, has spent more of his campaign time working behind the scenes, building a network of support.

Paul, on the other hand, has been quite visible on the campaign trail and prominent in the media.

"So far in the general election race, Paul is getting a lot more attention than Conway, getting out more than Conway," said Democratic political consultant Danny Briscoe, who is not involved in this year's race.

The national media, as well as those in Kentucky, have flocked to Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon and son of Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Making his first bid for public office, Rand Paul has garnered national attention because of his Tea Party ties and his father's unsuccessful bid for president in 2008.

With Paul on the campaign trail last week were reporters from The New York Times and Bloomberg News. Reporters from GQ and Mother Jones Magazine are working on stories about Paul. In what would be a first, C-Span might make cover the Fancy Farm political picnic Aug. 7 in Graves County featuring Paul and Conway.

A content analysis of news stories in Lexis-Nexis about the race shows the media have been focusing on Paul.

In the last three months — April 22 through July 21 — major Kentucky newspapers, including the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal in Louisville, mentioned Paul 305 times in the first paragraphs of stories compared with 150 times for Conway.

In the news stories, Paul's name popped up 465 times to 386 for Conway's.

Among newspapers outside of Kentucky listed in the top 50 in circulation in Editor & Publisher Year Book, Paul's name was in the first paragraphs of stories 196 times. Conway's name appeared in opening paragraphs 12 times.

Read more of this story at Kentucky.com