LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A key strategist behind U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's political rise is forming a political action committee in Kentucky to support tea party candidates.

David Adams told The Associated Press on Monday that the PAC — called Kentucky Knows Best — will recruit candidates, stage rallies and make campaign contributions.

Adams, who is the group's executive director, says he hopes the PAC donates exclusively to Republicans but says it will look for the best candidates in state races. He says the group will endorse candidates in contested Republican primaries.

Adams was campaign manager for Louisville businessman Phil Moffett, whose underfunded campaign finished second in last month's Republican gubernatorial primary. Adams was campaign manager during Paul's successful run for the GOP Senate nomination last year.