5. Rand Paul
The son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is running a stronger race than anyone expected for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), himself a politician whose angry denunciations of the Federal Reserve and the banking system could have come from either Paul’s lips. With a grassroots campaign that was put in place early in 2009, a national fundraising network and an anti-establishment message that’s finally in line with the desires of Republican voters, the younger Paul will at least force the GOP in his state further to the libertarian right. At most, he will stand a good chance of becoming an outspoken, Ayn Rand-reading member of the Senate.