FRANKFORT — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul taped footage Thursday to be used in a TV ad supporting Tea Party congressional candidate Thomas Massie in Kentucky's 4th District Republican primary.
Paul had said last month that he might make a public endorsement of Massie after U.S. Rep Geoff Davis and former U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning came out in favor of one of Massie's GOP opponents.
Massie confirmed the taping Thursday, saying he is excited to have the public backing of Paul, a popular Kentucky Republican who was swept into office in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party support.
"I worked hard to help him get elected," Massie said of Paul. "He has exceeded my expectations in office, and I look forward to working with him to advance our shared principles of fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government."
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Massie, one of the leading contenders for the House seat being vacated by Davis after eight years in office, has six primary opponents, including state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington of Fort Wright and Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore of Florence.
Davis and Bunning endorsed Webb-Edgington.
Under attack from opponents, Massie got major backup Thursday from an independent political group that invested $541,000 in TV ads to air during the final days of the race.
The group Liberty For All touted Massie's small-town values and conservative record in a 30-second ad that was scheduled to begin airing Thursday on network and cable stations in Louisville and Cincinnati.
Massie and Moore are the leading fund-raisers in the Republican primary race, though Webb-Edgington isn't far behind. The other candidates — Crestwood teacher Brian Oerther, Fort Mitchell business consultant Tom Wurtz, Erlanger lawyer Marc Carey and Crestwood building contractor Walt Schumm — have raised little or no money.
Two Democrats, attorney Bill Adkins of Williamstown and former Army medic Greg Frank of Corinth, are seeking their party's nomination to run in the fall.
Moore, Massie and Webb-Edgington have been running cable ads around Fox News. And Massie aired a network ad during two of the University of Kentucky's basketball games in the NCAA Tournament. The three of them combined have at least $500,000 to spend on TV ads in the final days of the primary race.
In the predominately Republican congressional district, the GOP nominee would be the overwhelming favorite to win the general election. The congressional seat has been held by the GOP since 1967, except for a six-year stint between 1999 and 2005 when Democrat Ken Lucas held the position.