Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul smiles during a speech thanking his supporters and reiterating his promise to them at his election party at the Galt House Hotel in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The Associated Press called the Kentucky U.S. Senate race at 7:07 p.m. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff

The Senate race in Kentucky was called in favor of Rand Paul shortly after the polls closed.

Paul ran for re-election with the promise of “A Clear Vision to Revitalize America.”

“Thank you, Kentucky,” Paul said as he took the stage for his victory speech. “I want to thank each of you for giving me the privilege of defending the Constitution for six more years.”

Earlier this year, Paul, the incumbent, easily secured the Republican nomination with 84.8 percent of the primary vote. In the general election, he faced Democratic Lexington mayor Jim Gray.

Paul briefly ran for the Republican nomination for president, but dropped out shortly after the Iowa caucus. Despite his early loss, his presidential campaign helped his Senate race.

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“It placed him on the stage that voters were watching, where he rubbed shoulders with a lot of serious or famous people,” said UK associate professor of political science Stephen Voss. “He did nothing to hurt his overall image in Kentucky while on that stage.”

If the Republican party suffers overall in the 2016 election, Paul “stands out as one of their prominent voices who counseled in a different direction,” Voss said, which may lead Republicans to listen to him more in the future.

Paul’s re-election “ought to position him to be a major voice in determining the future direction of the Republican party,” Voss said.

For the next six years, Paul promised to defend the “entire Bill of Rights” to preserve liberty and privacy for the people.

“The American experiment with liberty is not totally won,” Paul said.

His victory speech ended with chants of “Stand with Rand” from the crowd. Paul will begin his second Senate term representing Kentucky on Jan. 3, 2017.

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In 2010, Paul’s opponent Gray was elected as the first openly gay mayor of Lexington, according to his official campaign website. Gray would have been the first openly-gay senator of Kentucky, if elected into the senate.

Gray is currently chairman of the board of his family business, Gray Construction. He has served as president and CEO of Gray Construction, an international company.

Gray has capitalized his business background and ethic towards his work in the Lexington community.

Since Gray has taken office, the unemployment rate has diminished from 8.4 percent to a historic low, according to Gray's official campaign website.

Locally, about 15,000 new jobs have been created and workers are earning an average of 13.5 percent more.

"I stand here today knowing Kentucky better and loving Kentucky more than I ever did before," Gray said in his concession speech.