2014 Kentucky Senate race

Politics
9:44 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Kentucky Coal Leader Doubts Alison Lundergan Grimes Could Be Stronger Advocate Than Mitch McConnell

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

A top coal industry leader in Kentucky is questioning if Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes can break with President Obama on restraining environmental regulations.

Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett also credits Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for being the industry's chief proponent in Washington, D.C. despite the Grimes campaign blaming the GOP leader for job losses.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to unveil stricter pollution limits this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the country.

Despite reports that regulations would not be as stringent on coal plants as originally expected, Grimes pounced on the Obama administration to hold off.

"Coal keeps the lights on in Kentucky—plain and simple—and I will not stand idle as overreaching regulation adversely impacts jobs and middle-class families. Any new regulations must take into account the impact on Kentucky jobs and be based on current technology that will not drive Kentucky coal out of business," Grimes said.

The message is part of an effort to blunt Republican attacks that Grimes would be beholden to the president's environmental agenda. But attempts to pick up support from Kentucky coal industry leaders has yet to materialize when many already view McConnell as their top advocate.

"One person's position on coal is defined and the other has yet to be," says Bissett. "I would say our industry has looked at Sen. McConnell as the chief adversary of President Obama since he took office. I think you've seen Sen. McConnell be very engaged in coal and standing in the way of a lot the president's policies as it relates to coal in Kentucky."

Bissett adds that Grimes hasn't said much about the subject until now and rarely was involved with the industry's concerns or needs in her capacity as secretary of state.

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Politics
6:47 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

NRSC Defends Ad Criticizing Democratic Incumbent for Votes That Mirror Mitch McConnell's

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

When a political attack ad crosses state lines should the same strategic logic be applied?

That's what many Democrats are suggesting in reaction to a blog post by LEO Weekly, which found a Republican group's TV spot that could run in the Kentucky or Arkansas U.S. Senate race.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a spot slamming Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas for being a "liberal" clothed as a moderate.

Among the issues the NRSC calls Pryor out on are six "debt ceiling" votes that the GOP group highlights, including the Wall Street bailout.

Watch:

At least three of those measures (S.365, HR.3221 and HR.1424 for example) were also supported by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, however.

Asked if those criticisms of Sen. Pryor being "liberal" could also apply to the GOP leader, the NRSC defended McConnell's fiscal voting record.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Mitch McConnell Looks to Reclaim Anti-Obamacare Narrative from Conservative Critics

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called for a one-year delay to Obamacare for all Americans as its implementation approaches.

The move comes as public support for the president's health care law is waning, including public criticism from labor unions who call it "highly disruptive."

But McConnell's renewed push against the law is also a political calculation back home. It is an attempt to counter-punch a growing chorus of conservative activists and a primary opponent who argue the GOP leader isn't doing enough to de-fund it.

A recent CNN poll shows support for the Affordable Care Act dropped 12 point since January, with just under 40 percent saying they favor the law.

The survey found support plummeted the most among women and Americans who earn less than $50,000 annually.

McConnell says that is a sign Congress must heed, and urged lawmakers to give individuals and families a reprieve as the administration is doing for businesses.

"We need to pass a one-year delay of Obamacare for everyone. That’s what the amendment I’ve filed will do," McConnell said. "And then enact what Kentuckians and Americans really need: a full repeal of this job-killing mess of a law. And that’s just what I intend to keep fighting for."

The senator's amendment to do just that has been attached to an energy bill, and is being co-sponsored by a handful Republican senators 

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Politics
6:45 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

GOP Group Rebukes Matt Bevin for Defending Alison Lundergan Grimes Against 'Empty Dress' Remark

Mitch McConnell (l) is being challenged by Matt Bevin (r) in the Republican primary.
Credit File photos

Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin is being rebuked by a national Republican group for defending Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes against a GOP spokesman who referred to her as an "empty dress" this week.

The comments were made by National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring about Grimes in an -email to a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper.

Since then, state and national Democrats have pounced on the comment as a "sexist smear" while attempting to tie them to Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.

In an interview with The Courier-Journal's James Carroll, Bevin, who is running against McConnell in the GOP primary, followed suit. Saying he is married with six children, Bevin said calling Grimes an "empty dress" remarks was "insulting" and "beneath the dignity of a United States senator."

That drew a sharp criticism from NRSC spokeswoman Brook Hougesen.

"It's frankly embarrassing—and as a woman it’s offensive—that someone proclaiming to be conservative would lend credence to the Barack Obama gender war playbook that aims to smear good and decent Republicans," Hougeson told WFPL in a statement.

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Politics
4:56 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Senate Conservatives Fund Ad Says Mitch McConnell is 'Doing Nothing' to Stop Obamacare

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Credit Kentucky Public Radio

Saying Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is doing nothing to stop President Obama's health care law, a conservative group is making a hefty ad buy pressuring the GOP lawmaker to de-fund Obamacare.

Senate Conservatives Fund is reportedly spending $340,000 on a new TV ad that criticizes McConnell's leadership.

"McConnell is the Senate Republican leader, but he refuses to lead on defunding Obamcare. What good is a leader like that? It's nice that McConnell voted against Obamacare, but we need real leadership to stop it now," the ad says.

The new spot will begin airing Friday.

Watch:

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Politics
1:56 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Reaching Out to Women Voters, Mitch McConnell Says Democrats Dividing Kentuckians Along Gender Lines

Republican Senator Mitch Mconnell's campaign launches 'Women for Team Mitch'
Credit Phillip M. Bailey

Joined by dozens of women from across Kentucky, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign launched "Women for Team Mitch" to reach female voters and blunt Democratic criticisms.

And McConnell says that regardless of gender, Kentuckians should think about his potential to shape the agenda in Washington if he becomes majority leader next fall.

Those in attendance shared their personal and at times emotional stories about how the senator helped them with business, family and other problems.

Democrats were quick to point out that on the issues McConnell voted against re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act and opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

McConnell says those type of attacks show national Democrats and would-be challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes want to divide Kentuckians along gender lines.

"What you’re going to see by my opponent obviously is the Barack Obama playbook to try to divide people with gender-based attacks. We’ve seen that all too often and some of it has started already. I expect you’ll see more of it over the coming campaign," he says.

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Politics
10:00 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Louisville Tea Party President Endorses Matt Bevin Over Mitch McConnell

Matt Bevin
Credit foxnews.com

Saying she is proud to have been attacked by Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign, Louisville Tea Party President Wendy Caswell is endorsing Republican Matt Bevin in Kentucky's U.S. Senate primary race.

The nod from Caswell is a key pickup for the Bevin campaign that comes weeks after two prominent tea party activists in Louisville backed McConnell in next year's GOP primary.

In a Courier-Journal op-ed, Caswell says McConnell is more concerned with increasing his own political power than conservative principles.

"Sen. Mitch McConnell represents the old guard in Washington D.C. that cares more about holding on to power than defending the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual freedom. Those are the principles that Matt Bevin believes in. I know he believes in those fundamental conservative ideals because he has embodied them in his life's experiences," she says.

The endorsement from Caswell was likely helped by a web video attacking the activist.

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Politics
4:56 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

McConnell Campaign to Launch "Women for Team Mitch" This Week

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

The campaign to re-elect Republican Senator Mitch McConnell is making its first pitch to women voters in an attempt to close the perceived gender gap.

This Friday the campaign will launch "Women for Team Mitch" where McConnell will be joined by his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, along with women from across Kentucky.

It is a sign that the GOP leader understands the need to reach out to women, which is a key voting bloc that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is courting.

National Democrats have pounded McConnell's record on women's issues, which includes voting against the re-authorization the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year.

But aides close to McConnell have said the senator isn't going to ignore the female vote, and is eager to defend his views.

From The New York Times:

Given recent struggles that Republican Senate contenders have had with women’s issues, Mr. McConnell’s advisers say they intend to confront head-on the criticism Democrats have already begun leveling against him on issues they view as particularly important to female voters.

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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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