Elections

Donald Trump suggests a Senate primary challenge for Rand Paul

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican candidate for president, responds to a question during a meeting of the Economic Club of Las Vegas at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican candidate for president, responds to a question during a meeting of the Economic Club of Las Vegas at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Associated Press

It’s no secret that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is no fan of Kentucky’s junior senator.

Trump and Rand Paul have sparred occasionally but sharply since summer, when Paul began questioning the controversial real estate developer’s conservative credentials and judgment to be president.

Now Trump is openly suggesting that Paul should face a primary challenge in his Senate re-election bid next year, according to a report in National Journal and video provided by the Democratic group American Bridge.

At a campaign stop in Arizona Wednesday, Trump noted that Paul was one of the few candidates to attack him during Tuesday night’s Republican debate in Las Vegas, which led the unlikely frontrunner to wonder if Paul might get a Republican challenger in the May primary.

“I love Kentucky,” Trump said. “It’s one of the great places. But I don’t get it. You know, how does this guy get re-elected in Kentucky? I don’t get it. I don’t know. Is he going to be primaried? Is somebody going to run against him? Because we do want a Republican.”

Trump continued his habit of complimenting Paul’s father, former presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, while blasting the younger Paul.

In his Arizona remarks, Trump said that “whether you like his politics or not,” Ron Paul had a “certain spark.”

Trump followed that up by saying that “Rand doesn’t have that spark.”

“He’s a nasty guy, but the father had a spark,” Trump said.

With just more than a month before voters start the process of selecting a nominee, Trump said that Paul, who announced his presidential run in April, “doesn’t have a chance.”

“I mean what’s he doing?” Trump asked.

According to the Kentucky Secretary of State's Office, Paul has already drawn one primary challenger.

James Gould of Lexington filed to run against the senator on Nov. 9.

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