2014 Kentucky Senate race

Politics
10:00 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Mitch McConnell Campaign Radio Ad Features 'Fiery' CPAC Speech

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

The campaign to re-elect Republican Senator Mitch McConnell launched a new statewide radio ad this week featuring the GOP leader's fiery remarks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.

During the speech, McConnell pledge to conservative activists the fight against the Affordable Care Act will will continue despite the Supreme Court upholding the legislation and President Obama's re-election last fall.

In the one-minute radio spot, McConnell assails the president's overall agenda while urging conservatives to remain true to their principles.

"If you believe in your heart that the direction Barack Obama wants to take this country is wrong, its time to stand up together and punch back," McConnell says in the ad.

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Politics
5:22 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Ashley Judd Says on Twitter That She's Not Running for U.S. Senate

Ashley Judd
Credit U.S. Navy

Actress Ashley Judd is not running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky next year

The actress writes via Twitter:

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Politics
5:00 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie Advises Tea Party Critics to Lay Off Senator Mitch McConnell

Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie is advising Tea Party activists to think twice before waging a primary challenge to Senator Mitch McConnell next year.

The freshman lawmaker was heavily backed by the Tea Party in his race for the Fourth Congressional District seat last year. 

Massie is often mentioned as a potential 2014 Senate candidate, and has flexed a level of independence from the GOP establishment. He voted against Speaker John Boehner and recently opposed the Ryan budget plan because it wasn't conservative enough.

But Massie has repeatedly turned down offers to run and told reporters on multiple occasions he isn’t interested.

And in an interview with WFPL, he says Tea Party activists in Kentucky who want to continue to have an impact on national politics should reconsider their opposition to McConnell.

"My advice to people who are frustrated with Washington is that there’s probably a better way to spend your time, effort, money, blood, sweat and tears than trying to have Senator McConnell unelected. I think there are a lot better chances and better use of your time in terms of changing Washington, D.C.," he says.

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Politics
1:26 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Pros and Cons for Potential 2014 Mitch McConnell Challengers Judd, Grimes and Bevin

Ashley Judd
Credit Creative Commons

Kentuckians have 590 days-plus before the 2014 general election, but already the political chatter is centered on potential challengers to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell—chiefly actress Ashley Judd and her potential candidacy's supposed strengths and weaknesses.

But Judd isn't the only possible candidate.

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Politics
2:38 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Democrats Trying to ‘Sabotage’ Ashley Judd Are Making a Mistake

Actress Ashley Judd
Credit Salon

Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth is defending actress Ashley Judd against fellow Democrats who he says will regret trying to "sabotage" the Hollywood star's candidacy against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

For weeks, state Democratic consultants and donors have voiced caution, arguing Judd is too liberal to win in Kentucky and could cost the party seats in the General Assembly. And national Democratic groups are reportedly having second thoughts about Judd running in 2014 as well.

Yarmuth says those naysayers have often been wrong and haven’t presented a viable candidate of their own to take on the GOP leader, adding many should accept Judd is running.

"I absolutely think that some of the Democrats who are trying to sabotage an Ashley Judd campaign are making a very big mistake. There is no alternative to Ashley Judd right now. She is widely popular in Kentucky. She has generated an unprecedented excitement in the media both locally and across the country," he says. "And I think a lot of these people are going to be very embarrassed and have to eat a lot of crow when they have to support her—and they will aggressively support her—in the general election."

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Politics
9:55 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Mitch McConnell's Wife Slams Progress Kentucky in First TV Ad

Credit YouTube.com

In the first TV ad of the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, Republican Mitch McConnell's wife jabs a liberal super PAC for attacking her ethnicity.

As WFPL reported last month, Progress Kentucky sent out a number of messages via Twitter attacking former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

The national backlash forced the group to eventually apologize, and in the 30-second spot Chao says that represents the overall tone of the campaign.

"You've seen the ads attacking my husband.  As Mitch McConnell's wife, I have come to expect them," Chao says in the ad.  "Now, far left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity, even attacking Mitch's patriotism because he's married to me. That's how low some people will stoop."

Watch:

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Politics
3:59 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Team Mitch Launching First TV Ad This Week

Senator Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will be running his first TV ad for re-election in Kentucky this week.

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed with WFPL it will be a "positive buy" costing six figures and will begin airing Thursday.

Thus far, the GOP leader has been pummeled by attack ads from liberal groups on gun regulations and birth control.

"Every out-of-state liberal group with an axe to grind is desperate to tear Mitch down at all costs, but we're going to make sure we communicate our positive message to every voter in the commonwealth," says Benton.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Outgoing Young Republicans Chair: Backing Mitch McConnell Caused Loss to Tea Party Activist

Louisville Young Republicans
Credit http://louisvilleyr.org/

The outgoing chair of the Louisville Young Republicans says he lost his seat to a Tea Party activist due to publicly supporting Senator Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign.

James Young had served as the group's leader since last year, but lost re-election to Louisville Tea Party Vice President Andrew Schachtner this week.

The chair position was the only contested seat in the group's elections Monday.

Young says he didn't begin to receiving threats of opposition until he began defending McConnell on this station.

"I'm very confident my appearance fueled some ideas in the minds of people looking for opportunities," he says. "There was an instance where I was specifically told through other individuals that ‘hey there are some people very upset within Tea Party organization that view you using your position to support Senator McConnell' and influencing others to do so."

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Politics
8:59 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Filibuster Reveals Close But 'Shrewd' Relationship Between Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell

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

Senator Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour talking filibuster reveals a telling wrinkle about the so-called symbiotic relationship with fellow Kentuckian and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

According to the National Journal, a week and a half before the speech Paul approached McConnell's campaign manager Jesse Benton—who is also Paul's nephew—about blocking the nomination of CIA director John Brennan.

The Republican leader had considered such a move beforehand, according to sources. But McConnell was glad to help "win over" other GOP senators to the idea on Paul's behalf in another attempt to show their solidarity.

"There were multiple discussions at senior staff levels about Senator Paul's plans to hold the Brennan nomination, and Sen. McConnell had agreed to hold, at the least, Mr. Brennan's confirmation to a 60 vote threshold," says Benton.

It was a masterful coordination that put the Obama administration's drone policy in the national spotlight, and put Senate Democrats on their heels.

But what Team Mitch was apparently unaware of was Paul's intention to actually perform a "talking" filibuster rather a "cloture." The reaction amongst McConnell surrogates has been a mix of admiration ("he's savvy") and apprehension ("it was shrewd").

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Politics
11:53 am
Fri March 8, 2013

NRSC Slams Ashley Judd's Residency, Questions Kentucky Roots

Republicans Attack Judd's residency
Credit NRSC

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is mocking actress Ashley Judd's lack of residency in Kentucky as she considers a bid against Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

In the faux fundraising e-mail, the NRSC asks potential donors to help Judd find a place to live in the Bluegrass state.

"Ashley Judd needs your help. Despite the fact that she lives in Tennessee, Judd desperately wants to run for Senate in neighboring Kentucky," the e-mail reads. "I know what you're thinking: how can a person who has said 'Tennessee is home,' that San Francisco is 'my American city home' and that she 'winters in Scotland' run for Senate in Kentucky?"

Judd being a Tennessee resident and delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention has been a consistent point of attack for Republicans . Last month, Karl Rove's super PAC American Crossroads released an ad that pummeled her with that point, among other things.

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