Politics

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says he will help Gov. Matt Bevin get a waiver from the federal government this summer to begin charging Medicaid recipients for their health insurance.

That will be part of Paul’s message this week as he visits 18 Kentucky cities in four days, his first major trip in the Commonwealth since ending his presidential campaign.

The town hall-style events begin in Scottsville on Tuesday and end in Radcliff on Saturday. Paul has had similar trips in recent months, but this time he won’t be dogged by questions about his other campaign.

Paul is favored to again win the Republican nomination, where he could face Democrat Jim Gray in the fall. The Lexington mayor is the most well-known of the seven Democrats vying for the nomination.

Paul may also discuss the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the increasingly charged political debate about how to replace him on the court.

During an appearance on conservative commentator Leland Conway’s WHAS Radio talk show Monday morning, Paul said he admired Scalia’s legal theory, which centered on a strict interpretation of the Constitution, and hoped the Senate would block President Obama’s nominee to replace him.

Paul also said if McConnell were to allow a vote on an Obama nominee, he expected it would be filibustered.

Obama, who has 10 months left in his term, said over the weekend he would seek to replace Scalia. That announcement came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky vowed to block any nominee while Obama remains president.

In an indication of how incendiary the debate over the future of the Supreme Court has become in the day or so since Scalia’s death became public, the United Kentucky Tea Party issued an “open letter” to Paul, McConnell and the U.S. Senate’s Republican caucus on Monday endorsing the Senate Majority Leader’s position.

“A liberal, progressive appointment, tilting the court to the far left will destroy our republic and guarantee that liberty or perhaps the American Dream will cease to exist in this, the greatest country on the face of the earth,” the letter reads. We encourage all Republican senators to hold firm and join with Sen. McConnell in refusing to entertain any nominees put forward by the current administration.”