(WASHINGTON) -- Trey Grayson got a first-hand and early look at Rand Paul’s political talents in the 2010 Senate Republican primary, where Paul upset the establishment-backed Grayson -- a major moment in the tea party wars that came to dominate the year.
Grayson, now from a perch as director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics, has begun to mend ties with the Kentucky senator, who recently appeared on stage with Grayson at Harvard. Grayson now sees Paul as a potential frontrunner in the 2016 presidential contest.
“He’s obviously extraordinarily talented with politics. He’s I think got a good sense of timing. He’s got a message that is resonating with Republican Party voters right now, and he’s a serious candidate,” Grayson told ABC News' Rick Klein and ESPN’s Andy Katz.
“I think he’s got a real shot at being the nominee. It’s too early to say whether he’s the favorite or not, but he’s certainly someone to be reckon with. Some of the things that I saw that he did quite well in running against me, he’s continuing to do that,” he said. “For the Republican Party to win more elections, we’ve got to do a better job of bringing younger voters into the fold, and Sen. Paul certainly does that.”
Grayson also said he believes Kentucky’s other senator, Mitch McConnell -- who endorsed Grayson over Paul in the 2010 race -- will cruise to the GOP nomination in the primary race later this month against tea party favorite Matt Bevin.
“The only question in that race is the margin,” he said. “I think Sen. McConnell will be fine, but I think just the question is the margin. I felt that for a long time and there’s nothing to make me think that there’s going to be any kind of surprises.”
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