Rand Paul May Skip Debate as Huckabee Calls for Conway to "Repent"

Kentucky Senate: Rand Paul (R) vs. Jack Conway (D) AP

The fallout from Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway's controversial commercial questioning Republican opponent Rand Paul's religious faith continued today with Paul telling reporters that he may skip the final scheduled debate between the two men in protest.

Paul said this morning that he will announce tomorrow whether he will attend the debate, according to the Associated Press, or instead skip it because of an ad he considers "shameless" and "disgraceful." The debate is scheduled for Monday.

Paul refused to shake Conway's handand repeatedly criticized him over the ad at a debate earlier this week.

He also released an ad insisting that he "keeps Christ in his heart." The ad criticizing Conway for "bear[ing] false witness against another man just to win an election."

Paul joined a secret group while at Baylor University called the NoZe Brotherhood that was banned for mocking Christianity and allegedly led a young woman to a creek, tied her up, and demanded she worship the "Aqua Buddha" as part of a prank.

"Randy smoked pot, he made fun of Baptists, none of us ever heard him pontificating about religion," one former NoZe brother told Politico.

Meanwhile, former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has waded into the controversy with a radio ad (at left) and robocall calling on Conway to "repent" for running the ad.

"An apology for such a vile attack? Well, it would be meaningless from Jack Conway unless he truly repented from such a classless attack," Huckabee says in the radio ad. He calls it a "despicable" attempt to "smear" Paul and his family and adds that "the people of Kentucky aren't as gullible as Jack Conway must take them for."

Conway, one of the only Democrats this election cycle with a plausible chance to win a Republican seat, isn't backing down, as the Washington Post notes; yesterday, state Auditor and Conway campaign chairwoman Crit Luallen had this to say: "The question is not whether the ad went too far. The question is whether Rand Paul went too far -- and whether he continues to go too far for Kentucky families. When his actions were as extreme as those cited in the ad, Paul owes an explanation to the voters."

Even some Democrats have expressed reservations about the ad, prompting the National Republican Senatorial Committee to release a video showing members of Conway's party criticizing his campaign for putting it out.

Paul leads Conway by 48 percent to 43 percent in the most recent Mason-Dixon poll.

Kentucky Senate Election: Rand Paul (R) vs. Jack Conway (D)


Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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