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Rand Paul gets an assist from his father, DeMint

From NBC's Adam Verdugo
ERLANGER, KY -- U.S. Senate hopeful Rand Paul last night brought in two Tea Party titans to headline a fundraising rally in Northern Kentucky. One of them was his father, former GOP presidential candidate and current Rep. Ron Paul. The other was South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.

“[DeMint] has been one of those who probably really has been involved and help get so many conservatives elected,” Rand Paul told the crowd of about 300 gathered in a Holiday Inn ballroom. “His endorsements have been a big deal across America.”

DeMint’s decisions to support certain candidates over others has caused a stir within his own party in recent contests, most notably Christine O’Donnell’s race in Delaware. He said that the Tea Party “has the establishment shaking in their boots.” His support for Paul in the GOP primary ran counter to the “establishment” pick -- Trey Grayson -- who was backed by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.

DeMint also told the crowd he received a thank-you note from Paul that read, “I smile when I think what we can do together in the Senate” -- to which DeMint added, “I smile when I think maybe not just us two but eight or 10 senators who believe in constitution-limited government."

DeMint is just one of the latest high-profile Republicans who have made trips to Kentucky on Paul’s behalf in the last month; Sarah Palin and Haley Barbour also have attended fundraisers in the state.