2014 Kentucky Senate race

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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Politics
5:28 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Nate Silver Gives Alison Lundergan Grimes One-in-Five Chance in Senate Race

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

Election guru Nate Silver is giving Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes a 20 percent chance of beating Senator Mitch McConnell in next year's election.

The Democrats hold a 54-46 majority in the Senate and are expected to regain the New Jersey seat later this year.

But the early speculation is Republicans will pick up at least three seats in 2014.  It's possible the GOP have enough to gain the majority, but Silver puts control of the Senate as a "toss-up" overall.

In regards to the Bluegrass, he says McConnell's seat could be vulnerable given his noted unpopularity, but the "fundamentals" favor the GOP leader over Grimes.

From FiveThirtyEight:

Kentucky. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, has only break-even approval ratings, and Democrats got one of their better potential recruits in Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state.

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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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