“Randslide: Kentucky’s 2010 U.S. Senate Election”

Political photo story on the 2010 midterm election to replace retiring Republican Sen. Jim Bunning as Kentucky’s junior United States senator.

In what many conservatives dubbed a "Randslide," Tea Party-backed Republican eye surgeon Rand Paul rose from obscurity to defeat both a popular establishment candidate in the state GOP primary and a formidable Democrat in the 2010 general election for Kentucky's junior U.S. Senate seat.

Paul came from nowhere to win Kentucky’s 2010 Republican senatorial primary by a 23.4-percent margin over Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the establishment candidate handpicked by state GOP leaders and publicly-endorsed by powerful Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He then went on to garner 56 percent of the vote against Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway in November’s general election.

Paul's victory catapulted him to stardom on the national political scene and proved the fledgling Tea Party movement had become a viable force in American politics.

All photos available for licensing via Zuma Press

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, 41, of Louisville, campaigns for the United States Senate in 2010 at Checks Billiards in Bowling Green, Ky. The Democrat sought to portray himself as a hard-working crime fighter who would champion the causes of all Kentucky citizens if elected, but opponents painted a picture of a wealthy, elitist lawyer more concerned with owning and racing Thoroughbred horses than working for ordinary Kentuckians. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Dr. Rand Paul, 47, an eye surgeon in Kentucky’s third-most populous city and Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for the United States Senate, campaigns in Eastern Kentucky during his 2010 primary campaign to replace retiring GOP Sen. Jim Bunning as the state’s junior senator. Although no stranger to politics, the unapologetic intellectual and son of Republican Texas congressman and 1988 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Ron Paul had never sought public office before his 2010 Senate campaign. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

14th District Texas Rep. Ron Paul — widely considered the “godfather” of the fledgling Tea Party movement — smiles as his son, Rand Paul, delivers a victory speech at the Bowling Green (Ky.) Country Club after winning the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Kentucky’s 2010 primary election. Randal Howard Paul — called “Randy” while growing up — is the third-born of Ron’s five children and has followed closely in his father’s footsteps, becoming first a physician, then a member of Congress and later a Republican candidate for president of the United States. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Rand Paul (left) campaigns for U.S. Senate in the GOP stronghold of Northern Kentucky with his father, 14th District Texas Rep. Ron Paul (center), and 4th District Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis by his side. No stranger to politics, Rand drew heavily on his father’s political organization and donor base in his first-ever run for political office. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Rand Paul campaigns for U.S. Senate outside the Tim Lee Carter Community Building in Hyden, Ky. Paul’s views about regulations affecting the coal-mining industry were a popular topic of discussion in the Appalachian coal fields of Eastern Kentucky and he drew widespread media criticism for saying, with regard to coal-mining accidents, “Maybe sometimes accidents happen,” during one such discussion held later that day in nearby Harlan. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Campaign Press Secretary Gary Howard grimaces while waiting for his boss, Rand Paul, to finish a television interview in Bowling Green, Ky. Howard previously served as director of communications for Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty political organization, but joined Rand’s campaign late in the election cycle after the outspoken candidate’s barebones staff began being overwhelmed by media requests related to his sometimes controversial remarks. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

J.C. Helton (left) turns and pumps his fist in celebration as Rand Paul visits Asher Land & Mineral in Pineville, Ky. Government regulation of the coal-mining industry was a popular topic of discussion during the Republican’s two-day campaign swing through the Appalachian coal fields of Eastern Kentucky. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Rand Paul (center) stares at Democratic senatorial opponent Jack Conway (left) as the Kentucky attorney general exchanges words with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during Kentucky’s premier political event, the 2010 Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky. McConnell, Kentucky’s longest-serving senator and one of the most powerful members of the national Republican Party, threw his support behind Paul late in the game after endorsing another candidate — one handpicked by the GOP establishment — in Kentucky’s 2010 primary election. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Sen. Mitch McConnell (left), Rand Paul and his wife, Kelley Paul, shake hands with supporters in Western Kentucky. McConnell, the Senate’s powerful Republican minority leader and a fierce campaigner who’s never lost an election in his life, campaigned extensively for Paul in the general election after the two patched up differences related to McConnell’s endorsement of another candidate in Kentucky’s 2010 GOP primary. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Jack Conway (right) talks with Woody Gardner of Glasgow, Ky., following a campaign rally at the Warren County Democratic Party headquarters in Bowling Green. Trailing in the polls 13 days out from the general election, Conway took his campaign to GOP opponent Rand Paul’s home turf in an effort to sway undecided voters. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Kentucky Educational Television’s “Kentucky Tonight” host Bill Goodman (center) moderates a 2010 U.S. Senate campaign debate between Democrat Jack Conway (left) and Republican Rand Paul at KET’s studio in Lexington, Ky. The last of five senatorial campaign debates between the two candidates took place eight days before the 2010 general election and was broadcast live on KET, Kentucky’s statewide network of PBS-member television stations. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Former President Bill Clinton (left) campaigns for fellow Democrat Jack Conway during a rally at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. The Democratic Party’s popular campaigner-in-chief — who carried the usually red-leaning Bluegrass State in both the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections — made two trips to Kentucky on behalf of the Conway campaign, the last coming on election eve. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Jack Conway clasps his hands as if in prayer following a campaign rally in Bowling Green, Ky. The Democrat and his advisers may have prayed a controversial political ad seemingly calling into question the legitimacy of GOP opponent Rand Paul’s professed Christian faith would prop up his poll numbers in the last days of the election, but the “Aqua Buddha” ad instead drew harsh bipartisan criticism and effectively sunk Conway’s already flagging senatorial campaign. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Jack Conway holds hands with his wife, Elizabeth Conway, as the couple rushes to board an airplane during an election-eve campaign fly-around to key cities throughout Kentucky. The Democratic U.S. Senate nominee continued claiming his campaign possessed that most coveted of all political forces — momentum — right up till the end, despite all credible polls saying otherwise. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

On Election Day, Republican senatorial nominee Rand Paul casts his general election ballot in Warren County’s Mount Victor precinct with 11-year-old Robert Paul — the youngest of his three sons — by his side. Paul’s wife, Kelley, cast her own ballot nearby inside the small polling place at Briarwood Elementary School. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Jesse Benton, Rand Paul’s campaign manager, struggles to fight back tears while standing on stage at an election-night party with his wife, Valori Pyeatt Benton, and their 3-month-old daughter, Caroline Reeves Benton, as confirmation comes in that his boss has been elected to the United States Senate on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 at the Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green, Ky. Jesse and Valori began dating while working together on Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign and their daughter was born a few months after Jesse replaced David Adams as Rand’s 2010 senatorial campaign manager. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Kentucky Sen.-Elect Rand Paul and his wife, Kelley Paul, raise their arms in celebration as they walk on stage to loud applause during Rand’s election-night party on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 at the Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green, Ky. “I have a message, a message from the people of Kentucky," the Tea Party firebrand said in his victory speech. "A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We’ve come to take our government back!” (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Republican Rand Paul speaks during a stop on the Tea Party Express IV bus tour in Paducah, Ky. Paul’s rapid rise from political obscurity to United States senator in his first-ever bid for elected office elevated him to de facto standard-bearer of the fledgling Tea Party movement his father helped found. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Rand Paul examines a silver coin commemorating the 1987 bicentennial of the United States Constitution following a 2010 GOP breakfast in Mayfield, Ky. A supporter from the audience approached Paul after the program and gave him the coin as a gift, asking him to carry it in his pocket as a “talisman” because the man believed Paul would someday become president of the United States. (© 2010 Billy Suratt/Apex MediaWire, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)


  • Role Photographer & Photo Editor

  • For Apex MediaWire

  • Date March through November, 2010

  • Type Photo Story

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