Rand Paul has surged from a long-shot insurgent candidate to dominate the polls just days before the May 18 primary. According to a SurveyUSA poll, Paul has a 16-point lead over Trey Grayson (Paul 49 – Grayson 33). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is strongly backing Grayson, but being the party establishment’s favorite is not the charm in this election cycle.

The real interest for Kentucky on Tuesday is the Democratic Senate primary. The top two candidates are in a statistical dead heat. The state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Mongiardo, has 38 percent to Jack Conway’s 37 percent. Conway, state Attorney General, started as the underdog but has been making up significant ground on Mongiardo for several months. Conway leans to the left of Mongiardo, to the extent that he supports much of the Democratic Party platform. Conway supported the new health care law, while Mongiardo opposed it from the right.

The race has heavily focused on ethics issues. Mongiardo has been criticized for his use of public travel expenses and a state-provided housing allowance. In turn, Mongiardo has filed an ethics complaint against Conway for accepting campaign contributions from executives at utility companies.