2014 Kentucky Senate race

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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Politics
10:30 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Bruce Lundsford: Democrats Lack Firepower to Defeat Mitch McConnell

Bruce Lunsford in 2008.
Credit Creative Commons

Former U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford says Kentucky Democrats lack the "firepower" to defeat Republican Mitch McConnell in next year's election.

The Louisville businessman ran against McConnell in 2008 and came within six percentage points of defeating the GOP leader.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is considered the top contender for the Democratic nomination in 2014. She is being courted by national Democrats and encouraged by state party officials as well, but Grimes has taking her time to announce any intentions.

Perhaps warning Grimes against running, Lunsford says any potential challenger needs to know the risks of McConnell running a negative campaign could damage their political future.

From ABC News:

"There is really no sitting Democrat that I can think of right now that has the firepower, monetarily, or has enough gravitas to take him on significantly," Lunsford told ABC News. "I’d be surprised if anybody can run against him who thinks they have a further career in politics."

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Politics
10:33 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Democratic-leaning Super PACs Target Mitch McConnell's Tenure

A pair of Democratic-leaning super PACs have launched an ad campaign against Republican Mitch McConnell that argues three decades is too long for Kentucky's senior senator to serve.

Senate Majority PAC and Patriot Majority USA announced the television ad and website on Thursday morning as part of a "major" effort to unseat McConnell in next year's election.

"Mitch McConnell talks one way in Kentucky and votes a different way in Washington, D.C.," says Patriot Majority USA President Craig Varoga. "He thinks this double talk will keep him in the Senate for more than 30 years, but we’re going to use his own words and his real votes to ask the question, over and over, how long is too long?"

The TV spot is a statewide buy that features McConnell saying he has "lived on a government salary for 30 years" but voted for the bank bailouts and cuts to Medicare.

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Politics
10:59 pm
Sat June 15, 2013

Noise and Notes: Bennie J. Smith's Long Shot Quest to Retire Mitch McConnell

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bennie J. Smith

When Louisville musician Bennie J. Smith announced he was seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell even he compared it to a David versus Goliath proposition.

A jazz musician and Danville, Ky. native, Smith is equal parts music promoter and human rights activist.

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Politics
8:55 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Louisville Tea Party Calls Mitch McConnell A Hypocrite for Defending NSA Surveillance

The Louisville Tea Party calls out McConnell
Credit Twitter

The Louisville Tea Party is blasting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for defending the National Security Agency's surveillance program while decrying a secret recording of his own campaign office.

Earlier this week, McConnell said the NSA obtaining the call logs for millions of Americans is legal, adding it has the proper congressional and judicial oversight.

McConnell acknowledged privacy concerns, but said the national intelligence director declassified enough information to downplay the public's concerns.

In a Twitter message sent out Wednesday afternoon, however, the tea party group representing Kentucky's largest city called McConnell a "hypocrite" for supporting the program.

"Hey @Team_Mitch, why do you get so upset when someone spies on you, but you want to spy on all of us?"

The online message makes reference to McConnell and his re-election staff crying foul over a liberal activist who recorded campaign strategy session.

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Politics
2:03 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Trey Grayson Weighs-in on Tea Party Finding Viable Challenger to Mitch McConnell

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson
Credit harvard.edu

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson says Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will likely have a primary battle, but questions if that candidate will provide a viable challenge.

In an interview with Politico this week, McConnell acknowledged he might have a GOP opponent but boasted "there is not any chance" he could lose such a race.

Tea Party leaders in the state have promised a challenger is forthcoming who will take on McConnell's positions from a more conservative viewpoint, but no one has stepped up at this time.

Grayson was a McConnell protégé who lost to Rand Paul in the 2010 Republican primary.

He says McConnell has done a good job of keeping the state GOP unified and made solid partnerships with libertarian and tea party leaning lawmakers.

"I think the question is there going to be somebody out there who can give him a real run for the money, and it doesn’t look like it. There’s certainly a group of folks—some tea party leaders and others, David Adams for example—who are trying to find a candidate who can take him on. And everyday that candidate’s not in the race it becomes that much harder of a proposition," he says.

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Politics
1:25 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Republican and Democratic Campaign Groups Pouncing on Kentucky U.S. Senate Race

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

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes are being scrutinized by each others national political parties in a pair of stinging messages this week.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee put out dueling press releases on Friday, going after Grimes and McConnell respectively.

Grimes is being chastised by the GOP for comments made at the state Democratic Party's annual Wendell Ford Dinner. During her speech, Grimes alluded to need Democrat's support in the "coming months" and said voters are tired of McConnell's obstruction and misleading politics.

The NRSC said the dinner was a "liberal love fest" that shows Grimes backs President Obama's agenda.

"Alison Lundergan Grimes sounded like a Massachusetts liberal as she advocated for higher taxes on Kentuckians, more federal spending, and policies that will hurt middle class families and workers," NRSC spokeswoman Brook Hougesen said.  "The true inner Grimes was on full display last night - her views mirrored those of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and she showed no tolerance for those who disagree with her out of touch perspective. With such liberal views, it's no wonder Lundergan Grimes remains the most reluctant candidate in the country."

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Politics
3:02 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Louisville Democratic Chair Would Like Grimes to 'Make Her Mind Up' on Senate Race

Louisville Democratic Party Chair Bill Ryan
Credit louisvilledem.com

The chair of the Louisville Democratic Party says he'd prefer Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to make a quick decision on challenging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

Grimes is scheduled to appear at the party's annual Wendell Ford Dinner in Louisville on Thursday evening, but an announcement on the U.S. Senate race is not expected.

Pressure is mounting on Grimes to decide and attacks from a pro-McConnell super PAC have already been launched in newspaper ads.

Last month, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth told WFPL Grimes needed to make an immediate decision on running or risk hurting the party.

Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Party Chair Bill Ryan says he doesn’t agree Grimes is doing the party a disservice, but that it would be bet better to know the secretary of state's intentions now rather than later.

"I would like to see her make her mind up in the next few weeks. That would make it a whole lot simpler for the Democratic Party to find other candidates ... that are considering to go ahead and say they’re going to run," he says. "But as far as bullying her, no I’m not going to say she should or should not get into the race. If she wants to take up to January to decide that’s her business."

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Politics
10:41 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Poll: Mitch McConnell Holds Edge in 2014

Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

A new poll of Kentucky voters shows Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell with a slight edge over two potential Democratic challengers in a 2014 match-up.

The Ohio-based firm Wenzel Strategies conducted the survey and released the results on Tuesday. It gives McConnell a 7-point lead over Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is considered the top contender.

Those are very different results when compared to a Public Policy Polling survey that had McConnell and Grimes tied last week. McConnell's re-election campaign raked the PPP survey for what it called "laughable poll questions," saying it should be dismissed.

In a head-to-head contest with Grimes, Wenzel found McConnell receives 46 percent of the vote compared to 39 percent for the secretary of state, who has still not indicated whether she is running for U.S. Senate in 2014.

The same survey finds McConnell leading former Miss America Heather French Henry by just a 5-point margin, however. In that mock race, Henry, who is also mulling a possible candidacy, fairs slightly better than Grimes at 40 percent of the vote compared to 45 percent for McConnell.

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Politics
1:37 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Mitch McConnell Campaign Focuses on IRS Scandal in New Web Ad

A new online advertisement from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's reelection campaign focuses on the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS—an issue the campaign says it's not going to let slip out of the public discourse.

The nearly three minute ad uses speeches from McConnell on the IRS issue before it became a national controversy, as well as media reports and testimony from IRS officials to Congress. 

It also includes a sound bite from former President Richard Nixon speaking in an interview he did on the Watergate scandal during his term as president—a comparison between Nixon and President Barack Obama.

In an interview, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton says that  neither the senator nor his campaign will allow the IRS targeting to stray too far away from the 24/7 news cycle nationally or in Kentucky. 

"This is very important, that we get answers, that we get to the very bottom of this," Benton says. "And we set a very clear example and clear standard that people of various political backgrounds and stripes can come together and say "we're never going to accept this ever again."

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