Washington (CNN) – Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul's reversal on a key campaign pledge, that some people now call a flip-flop, may not hurt him politically with some supporters even while it angers others.
Paul won Kentucky's Republican primary largely with the help of Tea Party activists and a staunch message of limited government which included strong opposition to 2008's bailout of Wall Street financial institutions. Before the May primary, Paul vowed not to accept campaign cash from any federal lawmaker who voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
But on June 24, just over a month after his primary win, Paul attended a Washington fundraiser and dinner sponsored by some lawmakers who voted for the Wall Street bailout. Kentucky's senior Sen. Mitch McConnell hosted the fundraising reception and dinner along with other Republican senators and House members.
Now, Paul's reversal is raising eyebrows among some of his supporters.
Paul Roman is active with the Tea Party movement in Lexington. He also campaigned for Paul, telling CNN he put up signs and volunteered for the candidate. While he did not initially know about Paul's reversal, Roman said he's now concerned.
Roman said he felt "anger" about it, telling CNN, "It goes totally against everything [Paul] said."
"I heard him say he'd only take contributions from private citizens," Roman said of the Republican candidate. He added that Paul's accepting money from senators who voted for the Wall Street bailout could change his support for the candidate.
"That's a deal breaker," Roman said.
Apparently he is not alone. The Lexington Herald-Leader quotes a Paul supporter in Kentucky named Warren Scoville as saying, "I am deeply disappointed that he did that."
"I don't trust Rand Paul anymore," the paper quotes Scoville as saying. He said that he likely won't vote for Paul in the general election.
Other Paul supporters do not have a problem with Paul attending the fundraiser.
Debra Masterson, a Tea Party supporter in Kentucky, told CNN, "He's running a very expensive campaign," adding, "I think reality set in for Rand Paul."
Masterson also said that Paul did not go back on his pledge during the primary. "After the primary, a slate is wiped clean," she said.
The Director of the Tea Party of Kentucky agrees.
"I don't see anything wrong with him getting donation [help] from senators who did vote for the bailout," Frank Simon told CNN.
Paul's campaign spokesman believes most of the candidate's supporters will not be angry.
"He won the primary based on his principles of balanced budgets and a 100-percent opposition to bailouts and government takeovers," Jesse Benton told CNN.
"Now that he's won that primary fight – and won the fight, we believe, for the direction of the Republican party – he's accepting support. But he makes clear that support will not influence his positions in any way."
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story