Paul defeats Booker for third Senate term

Michael Crimmins, Administration reporter

Signs reading “Rand Paul U.S. Senate” and “Brett Guthrie for Congress” lined the winding road to the Bowling Green Country Club where Senator Rand Paul and Representative Brett Guthrie spoke after the polls closed on Tuesday.

With Fox News commentary playing in the background, members of the media scrambled back and forth to get their cameras focused on the brick podium where the two men were to give their victory speeches.

With 6% of the vote tallied, the Senate race was called – Senator Rand Paul, the Libertarian-leaning Republican who has served 11 years in the Senate, had defeated Democrat challenger Charles Booker, a Louisville native who was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2018.

William and Donna Perkins, donors to Paul’s campaign, showed up at the Country Club roughly an hour before the winning candidate spoke. 

William, in his black suit, and Donna Perkins, in a muted orange dress, said they moved to Bowling Green in 2009 after spending time in Florida running a medical X-ray business.

William said he first came to know Rand Paul while his father, Ron Paul, was running for president in 2012. The Perkins said they like Rand more than his father – William said he seemed more “logical” than Ron.

The Perkins said they have donated to all three of Paul’s campaigns.

“We’ve always donated to his campaign,” William said. “I like how he’s more Libertarian, it means he’s not confined to either party.”

They both said they will continue to support Paul in the future.

 “He’s done a good job,” William said. “We like the things he’s done [so far].” 

As more and more Paul supporters gathered on the small outdoor patio, signs reading “Stand with Rand” were passed out.

At roughly 7 p.m., Robert Duvall, a Bowling Green optometrist who won his race for the 17th District seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives, introduced the speakers: Representative Guthrie, who won his own re-election against Democrat Hank Linderman, Paul’s wife Kelley and Paul himself.

Guthrie spoke first, hitting on responsibility, voter’s choice and government accountability.

“I want to congratulate Senator Paul,” Guthrie said. “The reason we won tonight, and we have to know this, was because people are hurting. I don’t know how big the wave is going to be but it’s coming.”

Wearing a Republican-red dress, Kelley Paul was introduced by Guthrie to roaring applause. 

She thanked supporters, stating that a “red wave” was starting across the country. She echoed Guthrie’s comments about getting answers from the government and she told a story where a pilot called Paul “America’s Senator.”

After her brief remarks she introduced her husband to sounds of booming applause and group chants.

“In this hour of our victory, as a red wave sweeps across the country and America chooses a different direction, we need to remember we don’t come together to celebrate the concentration of power,” Paul said. “We come together to celebrate the dissipation of power. We come together to reaffirm that we are the party of the tenth amendment, That the powers not explicitly given to the federal government are left, kept and retained by us.”

One of the main themes in Paul’s speech was the idea that U.S. freedom comes from the Founding Fathers.

“It is this system of Constitutional checks on power that has allowed America to become the freest nation ever known,” Paul said. “With freedom has come great prosperity, but we do not choose freedom because it makes us rich, we choose freedom because it’s a part of our very nature.”

After talking for just eight minutes, Paul thanked his campaign staff for all their hard work, and said he was grateful for his supporters and his victory.

“It’s an exciting night,” Paul said. “I think it’s going to be an exciting night all across the country. I think it’s going to be a big red wave. America’s choosing new leadership.”

Administration reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected].