2014 Kentucky Senate race

Politics
12:01 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

State GOP Lawmaker Compares Matt Bevin Candidacy to 'Don Quixote' Fantasy

State Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, is backing McConnell over Bevin
Credit File photo

The entry of Louisville businessman Matt Bevin into the U.S. Senate race has Kentucky Republicans discussing who is the more conservative between the investor and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But one state GOP lawmaker is urging the party to remain loyal to McConnell for standing up to President Obama's agenda.

A coalition of Tea Party groups in the state are backing Bevin’s candidacy and outside groups have indicated they’re willing to do so as well.

The primary challenge to McConnell has gained national attention for an already high-profiled race.

McConnell's campaign have referred to Bevin as a "nuisance" and "con man" in the past week, and are pressuring Kentucky TV stations to take down the challenger's first ad for alleged federal election violations.

Observers say this is unchartered territory politically, but the early defense amongst McConnell's supporters is he remains the person who can best advocate for conservative values in Washington.

State Senator Damon Thayer is majority floor whip who represents parts of northern Kentucky, which is heavily Republican. He says McConnell is a conservative leader despite Tea Party criticisms, adding this primary contest won't split the GOP.

"I know what it's like to have a Tea Party primary. I had one last year, and I got 63 percent of the vote. And that's because a lot of Tea Party folks stuck with me because of my conservative values. And I think there will be a large number of Tea Party folks joining with mainstream Republicans to give Mitch a big victory in the primary," he says. "I’ve met Matt a couple times, he’s obviously successful and a nice guy. But he’s a rookie engaging in a Don Quixote-like episode of jousting at windmills that ultimately will prove unsuccessful for him."

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Politics
6:53 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

VIDEO: Matt Bevin Discusses Tax Delinquency Allegation, Tea Party Support and Rand Paul

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin further addressed attack ads by incumbent Mitch McConnell's re-election along with a few other issues in the early primary campaign.

The McConnell campaign is pummeling Bevin's candidacy by spotlighting how his Connecticut-based bell-making company received a bailout  and allegations the business failed to pay its taxes.

Watch:

Bevin Brothers Manufacturing did receive a $100,000 state grant in the form of a forgivable loan after it was destroyed in a fire last year. But the GOP challenger says the money went to buying needed machinery and represents less than 10 percent of the money being put in to rebuild the company.

Bevin says East Hampton residents lobbied to preserve the company—the last bell manufacturer in the country—and to keep American workers employed.

"If anyone should know a bailout it should be Mitch McConnell," he says. "If you compare that to the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of billions of our dollars that have been wasted at the hands of career politicians like Mitch McConnell. If he thinks this is a bailout it's an indication of the fact that he literally has no idea how the private sector works, which isn't a surprise since he's never served a day in his life in that sector.

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Politics
2:24 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Republican Senate Candidate Matt Bevin Touts Conservative Beliefs, Differences with Mitch McConnell

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin

Saying it is time to take the country back from "elite, professional" politicians, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin officially announced he is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate to overthrow incumbent Mitch McConnell.

Bevin is a 46-year-old investment executive and military veteran who owns a bell making company in Connecticut. He has never run for public office before, but Bevin did contribute to Sen. Rand Paul's Senate campaign in 2009.

For months, Bevin has been meeting with Tea Party groups in the state leading up to this primary bid.

The United Kentucky Tea Party endorsed Bevin immediately, saying his private sector experience makes him an entrepreneur with the knowledge to "balance a budget."

And for most of the speech, Bevin outlined his conservative vision for the country, advocating for less  government spending, lower taxes and a full repeal of President Obama's health care law.

"I’m asking you to join me in a pledge. A pledge our Founding Father took very, very seriously. A pledge to devote our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to take back our country from the elite, professional (and) career politicians who are destroying the very fabric of our country," he says.

Bevin says entering the GOP primary isn't about McConnell personally, but in a TV ad launched Wednesday makes it clear the Bevin campaign plans to tap into conservative frustration with the five-term senator.

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Politics
3:26 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Conservative Groups Planning to 'Prosecute' Mitch McConnell in GOP Primary

Louisville businessman Matthew Bevin

National conservative groups are closely watching Kentucky in anticipation that Louisville businessman Matt Bevin will run against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in next year's GOP primary.

A Bevin news release says the investor will be making an announcement in Frankfort on Wednesday as part of a 3-day event that includes eight campaign stops across the state.

Last Friday, several Tea Party activists with direct knowledge told WFPL Bevin is entering the Republican primary for McConnell's seat. The movement has remained ferociously critical of McConnell over the years and just this week the United Kentucky Tea Party issued a blistering letter slamming the GOP leader's voting record as not conservative enough.

Now sources with national right-leaning advocacy groups tell WFPL they are eager to get involved in a Republican primary battle in the Bluegrass, and are preparing  to support Bevin over McConnell.

"Over the next few days we plan to endorse very soon and come in very hard to prosecute the case against Mitch McConnell," says a source with a conservative PAC. "We are all in.  Whatever it takes, we're going to help raise money for [Bevin] and we're going to particularly work on ground game."

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Politics
5:09 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Kentucky Tea Party Sources: Louisville Businessman Will Challenge Mitch McConnell in GOP Primary

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin

Louisville businessman Matthew Bevin will run against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 GOP primary, several Kentucky Tea Party activists have confirmed with WFPL.

For the past few months, Bevin, who is owner of the Connecticut-based Bevin Brothers Manufacturing, a bell-making company, has been meeting with Tea Party activists who are frustrated with McConnell's representation.

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Politics
11:02 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Pro-Mitch McConnell Super PAC: Alison Lundergan Grimes is Obama's "Rubber Stamp"

A super PAC backing Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election bid is up with a new attack ad calling Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes a rubber stamp for President Obama's agenda.

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership launched the $270,000 television ad buy Friday at a time where Grimes has tried to distance herself from the president, who is unpopular in the Bluegrass State.

The 30-second spot uses footage of a 2011 interview Grimes did with Kentucky blogger Jim Pence, who runs the website HillBillyReport.org. Pence asks Grimes if she supports the national Democratic Party platform, to which the secretary of state replies: "I do, Jim."

According to KSL co-founder Scott Jennings, this is an admission Grimes backs the "blueprint" of the Obama administration, including the stimulus package, environmental regulations and Affordable Care Act.

Check it out:

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Politics
6:24 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Says She Disagrees With Obama on Coal, Parts of Obamacare

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Kentucky Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says she disagrees with portions of the federal healthcare overhaul, but voting to repeal it is a waste of time.

Republicans in the House have voted dozens of times to repeal the law, but the movement hasn't gained traction in the Senate. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell—who Grimes is seeking to unseat from the Senate next year— has attempted to tie her candidacy to President Obama and his policies, including the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).

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Politics
12:59 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

NY Senator Says Alison Lundergan Grimes Thinking of Entering Race Two Weeks After She Did

Did U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., forget Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is running for Senate?

Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday, Gillibrand says he is encouraged at women looking to run for U.S. Senate, adding Grimes was "looking" to run for Senate more than two weeks after the Kentucky Democrat announced her intentions to take on Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell next year.

Watch:

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Politics
8:15 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Files Paperwork for Senate Race

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes filed paperwork with the U.S. Senate clerk to officially enter the race to take on incumbent Mitch McConnell next year.

Two weeks ago Grimes, a Democrat, announced her intentions to run for the seat held by the Republican leader at the urging of state and national Democrats.

Since then Grimes has been courting national donors with an ambitious fundraising goal between $26 to $30 million. This past weekend, Grimes reportedly impressed those at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee retreat in Martha's Vineyard.

In her first campaign e-mail message, Grimes says she has received overwhelming support since announcing and plans to build a grassroots campaign to match McConnell's hefty fundraising machine.

"This campaign is going to require all of us to stand up," says Grimes. "We need to stand up to the Washington insiders and their Super PACs. We need to stand up and demand that we elect leaders who will work to move Kentucky forward."

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Politics
6:44 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes to Headline Fancy Farm 2013

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

The campaigns of Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes have confirmed both will be attending the 2013 Fancy Farm picnic, Kentucky's premier political event.

The picnic will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two since Grimes announced her intentions to run against McConnell in next year's election.

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