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Rand Paul survives attack ads to win Senate seat

by Adam Russett on November 3, 2010

In a flurry of victories for Tea Party candidates in Tuesday night's election, none were as significant as Rand Paul's in Kentucky. The ophthalmologist, and son of Texas congressman Ron Paul, withstood a barrage of attack ads from Democratic challenger Jack Conway to capture to Senate seat in a surprise victory. The New York Times reports that the newly elected senator has pledged to stick to his libertarian views.

"They say that the U.S. Senate is the world's most deliberative body," Paul told supporters in his acceptance speech. "I'm going to ask them to deliberate upon this: The American people are unhappy with what is going on in Washington. Eleven percent of the people approve of what’s going in Congress. But tonight there's a Tea Party tidal wave and we're sending a message to them. It's a message that I will carry with me on Day 1."

Trailing in the polls in the weeks leading up to the election, Conway tried to characterize Paul as an extremist with a series of ads attacking his acts as an undergraduate at Baylor University. The controversy centered around a group that Paul belonged to in college that had mocked Christianity and allegedly tied up a woman and made her worship "Aqua Buddha." Paul bristled at the ad and even mentioned it in a subsequent debate.

However, it was not just his actions in college that caused concern among voters. Paul's extreme libertarian views have led him to make a number of controversial statements including suggesting that private business should be allowed to discriminate based on race, and citing the Obama administration's demand that BP pay for the oil spill un-American.

Paul was one of two tea-party backed candidates to Senate seats on Tuesday night, as Marco Rubio also won the election for Senate in Florida.

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