Phillip M. Bailey

Political Editor

Phillip M. Bailey became WFPL's political editor in 2011, covering city, state and regional campaigns and elected officials. He also covers Metro Government, including the mayor's office and Metro Council. Before coming to WFPL, Phillip worked for three years as a staff writer at LEO Weekly and was a fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.


10:05 am
Thu November 14, 2013

McConnell Camp Dings Larry Forgy Over Harry Reid Donation

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin
Credit File photos

The campaign to re-elect Senator Mitch McConnell isn't giving any ground in its Republican primary battle with Matt Bevin over who is the true Kentucky conservative.

Earlier this week, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Forgy, a longtime McConnell critic, endorsed Bevin in next year's election.

It was a good sign for Bevin's candidacy to pick up an "old guard" GOP nominee with roots in the state outside of the Tea Party world. The Louisville investor does have the backing of state Tea Party groups, but few well-known Republicans or officials.

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7:00 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

McConnell: Obamacare Enrollment Numbers 'Cold Comfort' for Americans Losing Health Plans

Senate Republican Party Mitch McConnell of Kentucky isn't impressed with the number of Americans who used to select a health care insurance plan.

The Obama administration announced on Wednesday that just over 106,000 Americans selected coverage plans during the first month of the Affordable Care Act's enrollment period.

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7:59 am
Wed November 13, 2013

'Walmart Deal' Coming to Philip Morris Site in West Louisville, Sources Say

The old Philip Morris site.
Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

A deal is in the works to bring a Walmart to west Louisville, sources close to the negotiations tell WFPL News.

Metro Government and the project’s developers, The Mardrian Group (TMG), have been trying for nearly a decade to bring a major retailer to a lot at the southwest corner of Dixie Highway and Broadway that was formerly occupied by a Philip Morris plant.

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2:37 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Former Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidate Endorses Matt Bevin for U.S. Senate

Former Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Larry Forgy

Former Kentucky gubernatorial nominee Larry Forgy is backing challenger Matt Bevin over incumbent Mitch McConnell in next year's Republican primary battle for U.S. Senate.

Forgy is a Lexington attorney who once served as the state chairman for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaigns in the 1980s.

In 1995, Forgy made an unsuccessful bid for Kentucky governor against Democrat Paul Patton.

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1:07 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Mitch McConnell Wants Kentucky Senate Race to Focus on Obamacare Woes

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit File photo

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell reiterated his call to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act and predicted Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes will run away from the law.

The GOP leader made the remarks at a press conference at his campaign headquarters on Tuesday, where McConnell made it clear that he wants Kentucky's 2014 Senate race to focus on the president's health care law.

For the past six weeks the Obamacare rollout has been plagued by a malfunctioning enrollment website and reports of canceled insurance plans.

Reports have found about 280,000 Kentuckians will lose their current coverage due to the law.

State officials say those people won't be dropped altogether, but rather will receive offers for alternative plans where their insurance costs could go down or increase depending on the individual case.

Its those sort of troubles that have put Democrats from more conservative states on their heels as GOP lawmakers are becoming re-energized thanks to its rocky implementation.

McConnell predicted Grimes will follow the line of Democratic incumbents in red states such as Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and run away from the president's law.

"The panic has set in and the troops are restless," he says. "And on a daily basis you will see some Democrat in some red state distance themselves from Obamacare. So I would say that my opponent is keep(ing) an eye on Mary Landrieu. And whatever Mary Landrieu does, you can expect my opponent to likely do either that day or the next day."

The senator also outlined what he called a more "scalpel" approach compared to the president's "meat ax," favoring reforms that would allow for more competition across state borders.

Asked about the over 7,000 individuals who have already signed up for new health care plans through the state's exchange program, McConnell said plainly lawmakers need to start over.

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8:01 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Failed Education Tax Vote Puts Spotlight on Kentucky School Funding

Credit File photo

The failure of an education tax in Colorado has a school choice proponent arguing for local voters to have a larger role in deciding how to fund Kentucky public schools.

It's part of a larger discussion that elected leaders and policy makers will face in next year's General Assembly as taxpayers see annual property tax hikes even as the state has cut education funding.

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2:35 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Kentucky Shootout: Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell Show Off Their Guns

McConnell campaign t-shirts at gun rights rally

Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes are vying for top gun in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race.

The McConnell campaign launched its "Sportsmen for Team Mitch" coalition on Friday to coincide with deer hunting season and to flaunt his support of the Second Amendment.

Praised by hunting groups and gun rights advocates,  McConnell was also presented with a "Defender of Freedom" award by the National Rifle Association at the event.

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3:21 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Urges Speaker Boehner to Allow Gay Rights Vote

Credit Laura Ellis

Saying individuals deserve workplace protections regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth is urging Republican Speaker John Boehner to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act up for an immediate House vote.

The push comes after the Senate passed the measure by a 64-32 margin on Thursday with nearly a dozen GOP lawmakers joining Democrats.

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9:04 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Memo: Grimes Campaign Strategy Centers on McConnell Negatives, Divisive GOP Primary

Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell
Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is a vulnerable incumbent with high disapproval ratings and a divisive primary challenge, according to a memorandum by Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes's campaign.

The Grimes team released that message on Wednesday outlining some of the 34-year-old secretary of state's thinking a year ahead of the election.

It reveals a strategy that is relying heavily upon anti-McConnell sentiment and the work of conservative groups backing Republican Matt Bevin in 2014.

But Republicans argue that as a challenger Grimes has failed to put forward an agenda and is becoming increasingly known as a candidate who dodges important policy questions by reporters.

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4:29 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Prominent African-American Leaders Discuss Rand Paul's Outreach to Black Voters

Dr. Ricky L. Jones (l) and the Rev. Kevin Cosby (r) discuss race, politics and Rand Paul

Two prominent African-American leaders in Louisville want voters to pay close attention to Republican Rand Paul’s outreach to minorities as Kentucky's junior senator gears up for a possible presidential bid.

University of Louisville Professor Ricky Jones and the Rev. Kevin Cosby held a public dialogue on Wednesday to address Paul's recent efforts.

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