Washington (CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's handpicked candidate in the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky was trounced by Rand Paul.
But that was last month.
Thursday Kentucky's senior senator hosts a fundraising reception and dinner in the nation's capitol for Paul.
Co-hosting the functions is Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. According to an invitation obtained by CNN, 10 GOP senators and 9 Republican House members are part of the welcome committee for the events. The invitation suggests donations for a reception at the NRSC headquarters as $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for political action committees. Donations for a dinner at Bistro Bis, a restaurant a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol building, range from $4,000-$5,000 for PAC's.
Part of Paul's message as he battled for his party's Senate nomination was that he was the anti-Washington candidate. He became a favorite of Tea Party activists, and was also assisted by supporters of his father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and a leader of the libertarian movement.
Paul easily knocked off the establishment candidate, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, whom McConnell supported, in the May 18 primary.
In his victory speech, Paul warned that "a day of reckoning" had arrived for the Washington establishment.
"I have a message from the Tea Party," he said. "A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: 'We've come to take our government back.' "
During the primaries, Paul promised not to accept campaign contributions from any federal lawmaker who voted in favor of the extremely unpopular 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, better known as the Wall Street bailout, and he criticized Grayson for doing just that. But some of the lawmakers listed on the invitation for the Paul fundraising events voted for the financial bailout.
But Paul says he's not breaking a campaign promise.
"In a primary, you look to define yourself and differentiate yourself from the other primary candidate. In the general you look to unify and bring people together. I think also Republicans since then are unified against any more bailouts," Paul told WKYU radio in Bowling Green.
National Democrats criticize Paul's fundraising visit to the nation's capitol.
"Rand Paul seems to think campaign pledges are revocable. What's next? A pledge to the far right wing, and another one to Kentuckians? Bottom line, Rand Paul is as phony as they come. The only thing sincere about Rand Paul is that he doesn't want Kentuckians to know who he really is," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee National Press Secretary Deirdre Murphy tells CNN.
The weekend after the primary, McConnell held a unity rally in Kentucky, to close ranks following the divisive primary. And even though they favored Greyson in the primary, national Republicans are now committed to Paul.
"We are proud to support Rand Paul's candidacy and we are confident that he will have the resources needed to win this November," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Amber Marchand tells CNN.
Paul faces off in the general election against Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic Senate nominee. The battle is to succeed two-term Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, who decided against running for re-election this year.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
He, Saint Rand Paul, sure sold out to The Establishment, real quick. I'm sure he'll rediscover his Strong & Deeply felt PRINCIPLES once he becomes a member of the U.S. Senate & has all of these special interests looking for special treatment.
How much of an "outsider" can he really be when his father is a 12-term representative from Texas?
Wow John Cornyn,another Corporate nutcase from Texas,what a great reception.
Isn't a "fundraiser" a redistribution of income?
If you take money from "inside the beltway" you are an "insider".
Which side of Pauls mouth should voters be listening to? He seems to be talking out of both sides, already.
Just another wingnutty fraud with bad ideas.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and is bought out by the PAC's and lobbyists. Sigh. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
Just throw another politician into the meat grinder!!! How do you expect to be part of Washington and not get your hands dirty??!! Anybody who wants to be a politician at some point has to break their own morals and beliefs! This is just the beginning for Rand.. as he will truly feel the pressure of the powers that be!!
If the democrats wanting to run against Rand Paul in the primary, they should have though of that a years ago.
The primary and general are different elections.
It's not like Jack Conway isn't in bed with Charles Rangel.
In the Fall, Rand Paul will be going down in flames along with the hopes of the GOP to recapture either the house or the Senate.
The GOPBP has gotten way too cocky and have revealed their true nature as shills for big business like BP at the expense of "the small people."
Son of a well known congressman. Accepting PAC money. Palling around with and accepting contributions from lawmakers who voted for the 2008 TARP. Yup, that's the makings of an outsider right there. Seriously? Puleeeeze!
Go find another lunch counter Rand. Under your rules, I could legally refuse to serve lying idiots at my restaurant! You would definitely be turned away!!!!!
As long as Rand Paul is now taking money from "TARP tainted politicians" I sure hope remembered to invite BP to the fund raiser-lord knows that BP and its ilk must be vastly impressed with Paul's conclusion that "accidents happen" as the explanation for polluting the Gulf of Mexico.
Paul cannot be counted on to take a position and stand firm with it, if it gets in the way of getting elected. He just keeps on embarrassing himself.
If he's anything like his father, I will be extremely happy to have him in office.
President Limbaugh,of the New Confedrates,loves this moron.Whats that tell us?
Crazy and outsider have two different definitions. Rand is no outsider. He's a coddled daddy's boy, but he is crazy.
Who am I to judge? We've supported people like this before. In the not so distant past, over half of the USA voted for another coddled daddy's boy, and look where that got us!
Oh, I see. Rand Paul has one set of lies to get elected in the Primary and another set of lies to get elected in the General Election. Typical.
All you Libs.....be sure to tell your cronies in Congress/Senate/White House to be sure to turn the lights out as they leave. Real Americans DO agree with the Tea Party!
And they all got together and grumbled about how poorly little old BP was being treated by the big bad government.
So he did not want their money and now he does. Huh??? Can someone make sure Rand Paul is not really Sarah Palin without all the makeup and hair extensions?
Rand Paul The Radical will lose the general election.
Hmmm, looks like maybe "insider" Republicans are finally catching on that "insider" politics just aren't going over very well any more with the majority of outside-the-Beltway Republicans.
I've been saying for years that if the GOP is to survive and prosper, it's going to have to drop, at least in public, all the bible-thumping and concentrate on basics all Republicans can agree on like protecting the country from the economy-wrecking Democrats and their taxes, taxes, and more taxes.
"Divide and conquer" has been a useful tactic forever, but the GOP seems to be a determined practitioner of the self-defeating tactic of "divide yourself and lose." There are a lot of Republicans–and former Republicans like me–who find the current GOP more-moral-than-thou ranting to be a thoroughly repugnant intrusion into the private affairs of individuals. But I think we can all agree–now that George Bush and his penchant for wasting money on useless wars is history–that fiscal restraint has become just about essential for the long-term survival of the country.
Is he going to say anything incredibly stupid now or we'll have to wait for the campaign?
What a joke. I love all these clowns running as "Washington out-siders" who obviously want to BECOME Washington in-siders! Tea Party meet your new BOSS the GObP! GObP meet your own worst NIGHTMARE the Tea Party!
Republicans don't know what to think until Obama takes a position they can be opposed to.