THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT’S OTHER KENTUCKY SETBACK…. Republican leaders like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former Vice President Dick Cheney were embarrassed a bit last night. Their preferred Senate hopeful in Kentucky was trounced by right-wing ophthalmologist Rand Paul, who reveled in his “outsider” status.

But down ballot, the GOP establishment suffered another key setback in Kentucky yesterday.

UPS pilot Todd Lally ran away with the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth in Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District, which centers on Louisville. He beat three candidates, including Jeff Reetz, a Pizza Hut franchise owner who was the favorite of the House Republican campaign committee.

Lally is strongly pro-gun rights and anti-abortion rights. The Louisville Courier-Journal’s editorial page said that during his endorsement interview, he said President Obama wouldn’t be able to get a security clearance if he wasn’t president and said health care reform was for the benefit of “freeloaders.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee has a “Young Guns” program, backing select Republican challengers in competitive district, and included Reetz as a rising star in the party.

Despite the party’s enthusiastic backing — or perhaps because of it — Reetz finished a distant third.

As Rachel Slajda summarized, “In Kentucky, the national Republican Party backed the wrong candidate in not one but two primaries.”

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) conceded that the results were “undoubtedly disappointing.”

Funny, between this and the special election in Pennsylvani’s 12th, I don’t imagine the DCCC is thinking anything of the sort this morning.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.