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.

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Politics
3:10 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Tea Partiers, Conservative Groups Target Mitch McConnell at Launch of Anti-Obamacare Tour

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at a tea party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

A pair of conservative groups are kicking off their campaign to de-fund President Obama’s health care law in Kentucky to pressure Republican Senator Leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers.

For America and Tea Party Patriots visited the state on Tuesday to launch the "Exempt America Tour," which plans to visit the political doorsteps of five key GOP leaders in Congress including stops in Virginia, Mississippi, Texas and South Carolina.

The tour plans to draws attention to efforts to take out funding for Obamacare in the budget, which is being led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx., and supported by a handful of other Republican senators.

It's a strategy that's divided the GOP, with leaders in Washington voicing caution while conservative activists—such as former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin—arguing "forced enrollment" is unconstitutional.

"People in Kentucky and Senator McConnell know that we don't think Americans should have to pay for Obamacare. That’s why we’re in Kentucky," says For America campaign manager Scott Hogenson. "And we're starting in Kentucy because as the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, we think he’s the first person we want to talk to."

Critics of this strategy say the Tea Party and others are playing into the Obama administration and Senate Democrat's hands. That pushing for a standoff to shut down the federal government will not work.

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Politics
11:52 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Matt Bevin Failed to Mention State He's Running for in Campaign Disclosure, Says FEC

A small mistake or an attack ad in the making?

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin failed to include he is seeking office in Kentucky in campaign disclosure forms, according to a letter from the The Federal Election Commission sent Monday.

Bevin is running in the GOP primary election next year to unseat incumbent Mitch McConnell.

FEC Letter to Bevin

Given the increasingly bitter tone of the campaign and opposition research against Bevin thus far, it's likely this tiny piece of paperwork could find its way in a McConnell attack ad.

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Politics
10:01 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Listen: Conservative Group Says Mitch McConnell 'Refuses to Lead Fight' on Defunding Obamacare

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

Another conservative group is launching a radio ad criticizing Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, this time calling on the GOP leader to oppose all funding for Obamacare even in the face of a government shutdown.

The Senate Conservatives Fund is spending close to $50,000 for this statewide ad that will begin airing Tuesday.

In a 60-second spot, the group says Obamacare is unaffordable and unfair but that McConnell hasn't forcefully backed efforts to de-fund the law.

Besides the president's health care law the ad also takes a jab at a controversy involving McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton who was recorded saying he was "holding my nose" working for the senator.

"The Obamacare bill stinks, and holding your nose won't make it any better," the narrator says.

Listen:

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Politics
7:46 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Democrat Vitalis Lanshima Announces Candidacy for Jefferson County Clerk

Democratic Jefferson County Clerk candidate Vitalis Lanshima

A local educator and former paralympian is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge longtime Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw in next year’s election.

Vitalis Lanshima was born in Nigeria and emigrated to the U.S. in 2002 as a student-athlete at Bellarmine University.

He announced his intentions to run Monday, and is the first declared challenger in the clerk’s race against Holsclaw, who is a Republican.

Lanshima says the county needs a clerk who will be more vocal on voting rights and other civic issues.

"The county clerk is supposed to be the chief civic advocate for this community. And we have issues that have to deal with voter disenfranchisement," he says.

Those include opposing any voter photo ID legislation and automatically restoring felon voting rights. which Lanshima says is a part of his platform along with modernizing the clerk's office.

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Politics
10:20 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Conservative PAC's Radio Ad Echoes Matt Bevin Attacks on Mitch McConnell

A conservative group is launching its first radio ad in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race criticizing Republican Senator Mitch McConnell for his voting record.

Led by former Republican Congressman Jim Ryun, the Madison Project endorsed McConnell’s GOP primary opponent Matt Bevin last month, and is running what they say will be the first of many statewide ads against the incumbent.

It's a relatively small $30,000 ad buy, but the 60-second spot slams McConnell’s votes on immigration reform, Wall Street bailouts and the debt ceiling.

Listen:

Daniel Horowitz is the policy director of The Madison Project. He says the Kentucky Senate race is about McConnell’s leadership and a larger debate about the GOP at-large.

"We want to have a long-form discussion both about McConnell’s record in Kentucky and also really a discussion over the future of the Republican Party. Is this going to be the party of Reagan, Cruz and DeMint or is this the party of Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell? And it’s about time we had this fight over the future of the party," he says.

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Politics
4:52 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Louisville Councilman Jerry Miller Running for New State House Seat

Republican Louisville Councilman Jerry Miller
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Republican Louisville Metro Councilman Jerry Miller is running for a newly drawn state House district seat in next year's election.

District 36 is an open seat that was created during the special legislative session as part of the long-delayed redistricting plan based on the 2010 census.

According to the map, District 36 covers parts of east Louisville such the Eastwood, Fisherville and Lake Forest areas, and extends to south Pewee Valley in Oldham County.

Miller says he will serve out the remainder of his council term, but wants to take his advocacy for more fiscal responsibility and lower taxes to the General Assembly.

"I really felt that the issues that I cared most deeply about, which are pension reform, education, ethics. And particularly if we move down the path toward the local option sales tax it’s got to go through Frankfort before it can happen. So I want to be there," he says.

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Politics
11:06 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Matt Bevin Calls on Republican Leaders Not to Retreat on Defunding Obamacare

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin
Credit mail.com

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin is criticizing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for not taking the lead on de-funding President Obama's health care law.

The pressure comes a day after Boehner told House Republicans he does not support threats to shut down the federal government over Obamacare.

In an earlier letter signed by 80 GOP House members, including Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., conservative lawmakers urged House leadership to reject any spending bill that funds the new health care law.

Bevin has been appealing to Kentucky conservatives in his bid against McConnell in next year's primary election that this is another example of McConnell not doing enough to stand up against the president.

"As the leader of the Republican Party, Sen. McConnell should be leading the charge to de-fund Obamacare not retreating with his tail between his legs," says Bevin. "Kentucky voters have a right to know: Will Mitch McConnell join Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz in fighting for taxpayers or will he join Speaker Boehner in caving to President Obama?"

But just this week, Paul stood with McConnell in Kentucky to say shutting down the federal government over Obamacare was a "dumb idea."

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Politics
2:57 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Louisville Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton Proposes Ending Liquor Sales After 2 a.m.

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, is proposing an ordinance to end alcohol sales after 2 a.m. at retail package stores as a way to help reduce crime.

But some community activists argue council members are using liquor sales as a scapegoat.

Over two-dozen liquor stores carry special licenses that allow alcohol sales up to 4 a.m., and the vast majority are concentrated in west Louisville.

The bill would exempt businesses such as bars and restaurants, and is likely to affect 24-hour convenience stores.

Hamilton did not respond to our request for comment, but one of the bill's five co-sponsors, Councilman David James, D-6, says police statistics do show a heavy concentration of crime surrounding stores that sell alcohol for extended hours.

"Eighty-nine percent of the businesses that sell alcohol in retail package form after 2 a.m. are located in west Louisville. And around those areas we have a high number of alcohol related criminal offenses," he says.

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Politics
11:38 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Matt Bevin Asks: Why is Mitch McConnell so Unpopular?

Sen. Mitch McConnell and businessman Matt Bevin
Credit File photos

In an increasingly bitter primary race, Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin is releasing a new web video blasting incumbent Mitch McConnell for being one of most unpopular lawmakers in Washington.

The online ad says McConnell has a history of voting for "liberal policies" and comes as Bevin faces intense scrutiny for supposedly exaggerating educational ties to MIT on his LinkedIn resume.

McConnell and Bevin's campaigns have been increasing their attacks against one another this week in online exchanges, one of which involved real estate mogul Donald Trump at one point.

Bevin's 50-second ad pounds McConnell for votes on abortion, immigration reform and the bank bailouts among other issues.

Watch:

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Politics
3:56 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky House Democratic Leaders Knew of Sexual Harassment Claims, Filing Says

A Democratic state lawmaker says some of his colleagues told him to keep quiet allegations of sexual harassment and assault against a fellow legislator to protect the party's majority in upcoming elections

After WFPL News reported the accusations against state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, early Wednesday, Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, took to the House floor to speak out against what he described as a culture of intimidation and sexism in the legislature.

In separate ethics complaints filed last week, two longtime Frankfort staffers, Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner, outline a pattern of alleged harassment by Arnold dating back to 2010.

According to both women, they brought these issues to the attention of the Legislative Research Commission and top House Democratic leaders.

In a statement to ethics officials, Cooper alleges that on Feb. 14 Arnold walked up behind her and slapped her buttocks. She said she told House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and his chief of staff about the incident, but Arnold continued visiting her office and attempted to hug Cooper, the complaint said.

Costner's statement alleges that Arnold grabbed her underwear in March 2010, but that House Majority Whip Rep. John Will Stacy told her "(Arnold) was harmless."

Riner said a third woman is coming forward and that protecting staffers, who have little job security, matters more to him than who controls the state House.

"You cannot put this off until the next election," he said. "You cannot put this off until tomorrow. There are some things that are more important than which party gets in power. And one of those things is how we treat people that we have power over."

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