Top of the Ballot: Rand Paul controversy continues

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul (R) continues to feel the fallout from his controversial remarks on the Civil Rights Act; Connecticut holds its state party conventions; and the Hawaii special election nears the finish line.

Paul blames Dems

Paul appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Friday morning and said this was the Democrats' attempt to "trash" his campaign.

"When does my honeymoon period start?" Paul said.

It's a line he repeated Thursday night on CNN, where he also blamed the media.

"I think what troubles me is that the news cycle has gotten out of control," he told Wolf Blitzer. "It started with my Democrat opponent asserting this, but has never been my position."

And the AP quotes Republican strategists who think Paul's supporters could see the comments and resulting firestorm "as fresh motivation for voting him into Congress."

Meanwhile, NRSC chief John Cornyn (Texas) is defending his new Senate candidate.

"Rand Paul, like every new candidate, is going to get better,” Cornyn told Bloomberg's Al Hunt in an interview to air this weekend. Candidates, Cornyn said, “make mistakes and they misspeak.”

Paul, his GOP primary rival Trey Grayson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are scheduled to attend a unity breakfast in Kentucky on Saturday morning.

Parties gather in Connecticut

Both Democrats and Republicans in Connecticut hold separate conventions Friday and Saturday.

Attorney General Dick Blumenthal (D) will have to defend his military record as he works to get his party's endorsement in the Senate race.

On the GOP side, former Rep. Rob Simmons and former WWE CEO Linda McMahon will fight for the Republican endorsement. Both will compete in the August primary, but the party's seal of approval is an important prize.

Endorsement results should be in around 6 p.m., according to the Danbury News Times.

Aloha, Hawaii

The Hawaii special election for former Rep. Neil Abercrombie's (D-Hawaii) seat comes to a close Saturday.

Republican Charles Djou is expected to win after national Democrats pulled out of the race. When asked Thursday if the party was writing off the election, DCCC head Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said, "Yes."

Voters received ballots in the all-mail election almost three weeks ago and have until Saturday to return them.

Also on the calendar


The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet at the Capital Hilton on Friday and Saturday to consider changes to the rules that guide the 2012 presidential nominating process.

The party said that "among the matters to be discussed are changing the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held, reducing the number of unpledged delegates and improving the caucus system."

And Sarah Palin will be in Boise, Idaho, Friday to campaign for Republican congressional candidate Vaughn Ward. Ward, the GOP favorite, has been struggling in the days leading up to Tuesday's primary. Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) is a top target for the GOP.