2014 Kentucky Senate race

Politics
3:00 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

National Democrats Dub Mitch McConnell 'Senator Gridlock' Amid Filibuster Fight

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

National Democrats are calling Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky "Senator Gridlock" as the Senate considers altering its filibuster rules.

For most of this week, McConnell has been in a sometimes heated exchange with Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada over blocking President Obama's executive nominees.

Democrats are threatening to use so-called 'nuclear option' to break the gridlock, and McConnell has said that will make Reid the worst Senate leader in history if they do so.

"They’re not interested in checks and balances. They’re not interested in advice and consent. They’re not even interested in what this would mean down the road when Republicans are the ones making the nominations," McConnell said earlier this week. "They want the power. They want it now. And they don’t care about the consequences.

Since 2007, Senate statistics show McConnell has used the filibuster 413 times as minority leader. That is almost twice as much as when Democrats held the minority from 1995 to 2001. Update: Since 2007, the Senate has invoked cloture, which requires 60 votes, 413 times. This is not the same as McConnell using the filibuster. 

Democratic Senator Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky says McConnell has led an unprecedented tenure of blocking Senate procedures.

"Mitch McConnell should change his name to Senator Gridlock because he’s the walking, talking embodiment of everything that’s wrong with Washington. And he’s the number one reason for record-breaking levels of obstruction and dysfunction," he says. "Senator McConnell has not only made things worse, but he’s actually embraced his role as the number one problem."

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Politics
10:16 am
Thu July 11, 2013

McConnell Campaign Raises $2.2 Million in Second Quarter

Flexing its financial muscle the campaign to re-elect Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is reporting it raised $2.2 million in the second quarter.

The numbers haven't been reported with the Federal Election Commission, but campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed the substantial amount with WFPL.

McConnell has now raised over $15 million in total and has close to $10 million on-hand as he seeks a sixth term in office.

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Politics
2:30 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Kentucky Democrats Broil Mitch McConnell Over Rand Paul's 'Southern Avenger' Aide

Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul at a Kentucky Tea Party rally
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

The chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party is calling on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to condemn an aide in Senator Rand Paul's office who was once a member a neo-Confederate group.

In a story the Washington Free Beacon reported Paul's social media director Jack Hunter, 39, belonged to a group that advocates southern secession.

It also found that up until Hunter was hired by Paul last year, he worked as a radio shock jock dubbed the "Southern Avenger" who praised Abraham Lincoln's assassination and said a non-white majority in the country would "simply cease to be America."

The aide's comments have put Paul's judgment for hiring him—and his potential 2016 presidential candidacy—under harsh scrutiny form critics. But state Democrats took the story as a chance to take quick swipe at Paul and link McConnell to his junior Kentucky colleague.

"The shameful history of Senator Rand Paul's senior staffer is embarrassing and I call on Senator Paul to condemn him immediately," says KDP Chairman Dan Logsdon. "Unfortunately, we're seeing more and more of this bizarre extremism, not just from Senator Paul, but also from Senator Mitch McConnell, as he caters to the radical fringe of his party."

The McConnell campaign says racism has no place in politics, but stopped short of denouncing Hunter and instead pivoted to criticize Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

"If Dan Logsdon would look up from the disaster that is Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign long enough to notice, he would see that Rand Paul has done more to reach out to African American and Hispanic communities in the past six months than Logsdon has done his entire career," says McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton. "We would hope everyone agrees that racism has no place in politics, which is why it was particularly disappointing that Secretary Grimes failed to condemn a liberal Super PAC’s racist tweets targeting Senator McConnell's wife."

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Politics
10:36 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Businesses Tied to Alison Lundergan Grimes Miss State Reporting Deadline

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

A pair of Kentucky businesses linked to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes failed to file their annual reports required by her office.

Earlier this week, Grimes's office announced over 156,000 companies complied with the July 1 deadline, but about 41,000—including two run by her father—had not.

From The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Grimes organized both businesses and has an ownership interest in one of them, but her father, former state Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan, took the blame Tuesday for missing the filing deadline.

Lundergan is listed as the sole officer for both businesses — Glenncase and GCL Properties — in filings with the secretary of state's office. Glenncase, in which Grimes has an ownership interest, involves 11-plus acres on New Circle Road. GCL Properties owns the Carriage House on Limestone Street.

Grimes, a Democrat, is seeking to run against Republican Mitch McConnell for U.S. Senate next year and the GOP is pouncing on this latest story.

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Politics
4:29 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Mitch McConnell Touts His Experience, Influence Compared to Alison Lundergan Grimes

Mitch McConnell
Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

From Mitch McConnell's perspective, the 2014 race for his U.S. Senate seat comes down to in large part to his influence and many years of experience in Washington, D.C.

McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, spoke to reporters on Wednesday after a groundbreaking for the final phase of the Parklands of Floyds Fork project in southeastern Jefferson County. He addressed the entry on Monday into the senate race of Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's Secretary of State.

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Local News
2:21 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Ashley Judd 'Ready to Fight' Beside Alison Lundergan Grimes in Race Against Mitch McConnell

Ashley Judd
Credit Creative Commons

FRANKFORT — Actress Ashley Judd says she's "ready to fight" beside Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state who announced Monday she would challenge U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election bid next year.

Judd, who had considered the race herself, showed her support for Grimes in a tweet Tuesday.

Judd, a former Kentucky resident now living in Tennessee, announced in March that she wouldn't run against McConnell. When Judd pulled out, Democratic leaders turned to Grimes as their candidate of choice.

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Politics
4:30 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Kentucky U.S. Senate Race Pits Grimes Inexperience Against McConnell Unpopularity

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

The entrance of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the race for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Mitch McConnell makes the Kentucky contest one of the most closely watched in the country.

And the early jabs appear to put up Grimes's relative inexperience against McConnell's wide unpopularity.

After meeting with supporters, Grimes announced this week she intends to seek the party's nomination to run against the GOP leader next year.

Immediately, the McConnell campaign and GOP groups mocked Grimes’s rollout as a sign the first-term secretary of state isn't prepared to run at the national level.

The amount of attention spent on poking fun at Grimes could be further evidence this race will be the nastiest in 2014. But the Grimes team argues a full campaign rollout will be active by the end of July, and the criticisms are a petty distraction.

"Alison wanted to talk with supporters and when she concluded meeting with them she was going to make her intentions know, and that's what she did. We have always said that she does plan to do a rollout across Kentucky listening to voters and talking to the families of Kentucky about this campaign," says Grimes spokesman Jonathan Hurst. "The Republicans clearly don't have any substance so this about the only thing they can use."

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Politics
5:09 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Comes Out Swinging Against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky U.S. Senate Race

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

Speaking before a group of supporters, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes didn't waste time going after Republican Mitch McConnell's tenure.

Grimes, a 34-year-old Lexington attorney, made the announcement Monday afternoon that she is seeking the party's nomination.

A first-term secretary of state who coasted to victory two years ago, Grimes is the daughter of Jerry Lundergan, a former Kentucky Democratic Party Chair, who is a close friend of former President Bill Clinton. She was praised by political observers in 2011 for running a positive campaign ad featuring her grandmothers.

For months, Republicans have mocked Democrats in their search for a top-tier candidate. Many party officials and elected representatives have been outspoken in urging Grimes to run against the GOP leader in next year's election.

Long before Grimes announced, however, the McConnell campaign, GOP groups and conservative super PAC's were pummeling her in online and TV ads. And McConnell also has raised approximately $13 million for his re-election thus far, which gives him a fundraising edge.

Grimes says she is used to being an underdog, but is confident voters won't buy into McConnell's notoriously vicious and effective attack ads.

"His ads are based out of fear of losing his 30 year grip on power. And this Kentucky woman does not believe that the voters of Kentucky will be fooled that easily," she says.

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Politics
11:46 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes is Running for Mitch McConnell's Senate Seat

Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

Update: Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Monday that she will challenge U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. 

In May, a poll stated that Grimes—Kentucky's Secretary of State—was evenly matched against McConnell, who was first elected in 1984. 

Grimes, an attorney, was elected Secretary of State in 2011.

"I agree with thousands of Kentuckians that Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction," she said in her announcement.

Grimes has been a long-rumored possibility for the Democratic primary—especially after actress/activist Ashley Judd declined to run.

WFPL is following the developing story and will have more information soon.

Earlier: Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is meeting with supporters on Monday afternoon and will make an announcement regarding the U.S. Senate race against Republican Mitch McConnell.

Since March, Grimes has been considered the best Democratic choice to run against McConnell in next year’s election at the urging of state and national party figures.

Even though she isn't in the race officially, Grimes hasn't been spared attack ads.

The McConnell campaign, national Republicans and GOP-leaning super PACs have criticized Grimes in recent weeks trying to link her to President Obama's agenda.

Grimes is meeting with a group of regional coordinators at her Frankfort campaign headquarters at 2 p.m., and will talk with the media an hour later.

"I don't know what she's leaning towards. She hasn't told me," says Jonathan Hurst, a Grimes spokesman. "I couldn't make a guess on it and be honest about it."

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Politics
10:05 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Mitch McConnell's Campaign Parodies While Super PAC Pounces Alison Lundergan Grimes

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn't said if she is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Mitch McConnell, but a pair of preemptive attack ads aren't waiting.

The first is a web video released by the McConnell campaign which mocks Democratic leaders who are trying to get Grimes in the race.

It features impersonators of President Obama, Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman John Yarmuth imploring Grimes to jump in the 2014 contest through a series of voicemail messages. Each have their own motivations, but it underscores how Democrats have been pressuring Grimes to jump in.

The online ad also lampoons other Democrats trying to reach Grimes such as former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Louisville mayor Harvey Sloane, who ran against McConnell in 1990.

Watch:

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