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Rand Paul Wins Kentucky Senate Seat, Projections Say

The Republican candidate for Kentucky's open U.S. Senate seat, who told local papers he wanted to get rid of the U.S. Department of Education, has won that contest, the Associated Press reports based on exit polling.

Rand Paul, a physician, bested Jack W. Conway, the Democratic contender.

Conway, the state's attorney general, was backed by the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers' union, but Paul, in a mid-October debate, said he thought his stance against the No Child Left Behind Act (the most recent version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) would help him attract the teacher vote.

Here's a snippet from the debate.

"No Child Left Behind was a huge mistake, Republicans passed it. ... but it really went against our real philosophy. ... Interestingly, though the teachers hate it," Paul said during a mid-October debate. And he said that teachers "often vote Democrat, but many teachers will hear that I'm opposed to No Child Left Behind and I'm opposed to Washington dictating what you do in your classrooms and I think we'll actually get quite a bit of the teacher vote this time around."

Paul also emphasized his support for home schooling on his campaign website, saying he'd ensure "that homeschoolers are allowed the freedom to compete alongside those who attend public and private schools."

Conway, on the other hand, said NCLB should be tweaked.

Photo: Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul rubs the head of his 11-year-old son Robert after casting his ballot in Bowling Green, Ky., on Nov. 2. —Ed Reinke/AP

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