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
12:59 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Pence Holds Commanding Lead Over Gregg in New Poll

In the Indiana gubernatorial race, a new poll shows Republican Mike Pence leading Democrat John Gregg by an 18-point margin.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce released the survey Thursday showing that among 600 likely voters, Pence has 50 percent while Gregg is being backed by 32 percent in the fall election. Polling also shows Libertarian candidate Rupert Boneham with about 3 percent support, and that 15 percent of Hoosier voters are still undecided.

Pence campaign spokeswoman Christy Denault says they haven’t focused on the poll numbers, but instead on touting their platform.

"Mike has a vision for how to make this a state that works, we’re focused on jobs and education," she says. "We have a whole slate of policy rollouts already scheduled and we’re going to keep rolling out our ideas so that the people of Indiana get an idea who Mike Pence is and what he will do should he become governor of this great state."

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Politics
8:50 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Paul Linking to Conspiracy Website Questioned

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is taking heat for promoting a report that the National Weather Service was stockpiling ammunition based on website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

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Politics
6:45 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Trump Backs Mourdock Via Twitter

Reality TV star and real estate mogul Donald Trump is endorsing Republican Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Senate race.

The billionaire conservative has become a controversial figure for questioning President Obama's birth certificate while he briefly flirted with a White House bid. For the most part, Trump has been lampooned for embracing the so-called "birther" movement and observers have criticized his remarks as a publicity stunt.

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Politics
5:27 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Grimes Compares Voter ID Laws to Jim Crow Era Suppression

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is speaking out against the rise of voter identification laws across the country, and she blames Republican leaders for pushing the measures.

Several states have passed new measures to protect the integrity of elections, but they have also made registering and voting more difficult. Many of the laws require voters to present a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.

But opponents, including Grimes, say the new laws target young, minority and elderly voters, who tend to vote Democratic. 

"Here in Kentucky we’ve seen no indication of in-person fraud, which would indicate that we would need to change or alter or amend our current ID requirements. But what we have seen in states surrounding us, they are Republican controlled both at the governor's level and state legislature level. We have seen ID requirements being strengthened to be a government issued id," she says.

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Politics
10:39 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Americans for Prosperity Yanks TV Ads Attacking Donnelly

A conservative super PAC largely funded by the billionaire Koch brothers has pulled television ads in Indiana's Senate race attacking Democrat Joe Donnelly, but political strategists with the group will continue their plans to target the race.

Americans for Prosperity reserved airtime to assist Republican Richard Mourdock in the closely watched contest, where polling has shown it is a statistical tie. Last month, the group launched a website against Donnelly, highlighting his votes in Congress but reports say the super PAC has a disagreement over how to target the congressman.

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Politics
2:05 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Abramson Joins Fancy Farm Haters

Kentucky Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson is taking a hit for calling the annual Fancy Farm picnic outdated, but he isn't the first elected official to share his distaste for the raucous event.

As Frankfort Bureau Chief Kenny Colston reported, Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer scolded Abramson for his comments and skipping the event. He also scored some political points by highlighting that the lieutenant governor is the former mayor of Louisville.

On his Facebook page, Comer wrote: "The border of (Kentucky) extends far beyond the city limits of Louisville, something the Lt. Gov. will hopefully realize before the end of his term!"

But two years ago, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who is from Bowling Green, criticized Fancy Farm when he told Fox New's Sean Hannity that he worried the onlookers would shower him with beer. And his northern Kentucky predecessor—former Sen. Jim Bunning—threatened to boycott Fancy Farm after complaining about how elected leaders were treated.

Listen:

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Politics
10:28 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Seum Shows Support For Felon Voting Rights, Medical Marijuana

Republican Kentucky state Senator Dan Seum of Louisville expressed some support for the idea of non-violent convicted felons receiving their voting rights back along with legalizing medical marijuana.

Under the state constitution, former felons must petition the governor to regain their right to vote.

Kentucky is one of three states that do not restore the right to vote for ex-convicts automatically, which has left seven percent of residents disenfranchised. A study conducted by The Sentencing Project found the law also leaves one in five African Americans without voting rights.

Seum says it is important to get former felons back into society and he will lobby fellow Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate while acknowledging the political barriers.

"The fear here is that you would be perceived to be easy on criminals, that’s the political fear," Seum told Pure Politics's Ryan Alessi. "And that's something of course, any opponent would use that against you."

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Politics
8:58 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Gregg Unveils First Campaign Ad

Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg unveiled his first campaign television ad Tuesday that highlights his small town roots.

The 30-second spot features the former state House speaker criticizing political advertisements and instead talks about his longtime friends from his hometown of Sandborn, Indiana.

Gregg tells the story of a friend who caught cancer and moved in with others, adding he wants to keep Indiana "a place where people look out for each other.

Watch below:

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Politics
12:37 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Fischer Discusses City Tax Options in Lane Report Interview

In an interview with the Lexington-based Lane Report, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the city needs to diversify its tax base to help combat budget shortfalls.

About 80 percent of Metro Government's revenue comes from occupational and property taxes, which have stalled due to the economy. The mayor had to fill a $20 million deficit in his last fiscal plan while the tax base has grown at a slower rate and a structural imbalance gets wider.

Lately Fischer has been pushing a local option sales tax, adding cities need more options to raise revenue. In the one-on-one interview, he cited a recommendation from Governor Steve Beshear's Blue Ribbon Tax Commission is that cities share in the state’s sales taxes as well.

From The Lane Report:

EL: Would you raise the sales tax, ask for a share of the current state sales tax, or would you have a local-option sales tax on top of the current sales tax?

GF: Whether it’s a private business or the business of government, a more diversified revenue stream has better odds of staying level or growing. Kentucky cities do not have a sales tax component to their revenue stream. The second possibility is the local-option sales tax: where the citizens of a city can vote on a specific project, for a specific time period, paid for in a specific way. Most all of our competitive cities have that option as well; Kentucky cities do not. So when you see capital investments being made by other cities in their arts district, recreation center or forensic crime lab, frequently they are funded by a local-option sales tax.

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Politics
6:30 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Shanklin Seeks Dismissal of Ethics Complaint

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, is asking the city Ethics Commission to dismiss a complaint filed against her by a state watchdog group.

The embattled city lawmaker is also making the argument that The Courier-Journal is behind the complaint.

Last month, Common Cause of Kentucky Chairman Richard Beliles cites a series of articles that reported on Shanklin's discretionary spending. It alleges Shanklin violated the Metro Government code of ethics by using her office to benefit herself and her relatives.

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