Alison Lundergan Grimes

Politics
11:05 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Surpasses Mitch McConnell in Latest Fundraising Total

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes

The campaign to elect Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Tuesday it raised over $2.5 million in the third quarter, topping Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell's fundraising totals for the same period.

Over the past three months Grimes received support from all 120 Kentucky counties and all 50 states with around 13,300 contributors, which is more than twice the number of McConnell's donors.

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Politics
2:29 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Hauls in $2.3 Million for Re-Election

In Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, the campaign to re-elect Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday it raised $2.3 million in the past three months.

This represents McConnell's strongest quarter to date as the incumbent seeks a sixth term in office. 

Overall McConnell has garnered a total of $17.7 million towards next year's election and will report just under $10 million in cash on hand.

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Politics
12:36 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Says Mitch McConnell is 'Missing in Action' on Shutdown Negotiations

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Calling the looming government shutdown a "reckless Republican" strategy, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is accusing incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of watching from the sidelines.

The budget impasse in Washington is expected to continue when the Democratic-controlled Senate rejects a House measure this afternoon.

If a deal isn't reached the federal government will close on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.

At issue is implementation of President Obama's health care law, which Republican want to delay for one year. But that is considered a non-starter in the Senate and for the Obama administration.

In the meantime, the Grimes campaign is going on the offensive against McConnell by highlighting how a shutdown would impact Kentucky.

The news release points out a shutdown would close centers for 16,000 children who attend Head Start, delay payments for U.S. military service members and furlough 25,000 federal employees in the state.

Grimes says McConnell needs to be more involved in the negotiations while reminding supporters about the GOP leadership's split with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

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Politics
6:12 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Pressured Over New Sexual Harassment Claims in Kentucky Legislature

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

Saying Alison Lundergan Grimes needs to prove her commitment to women, the chair of the Republican Party of Kentucky is challenging the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate to join a call to investigate new sexual harassment allegations in the state legislature.

As The Courier-Journal's Joe Gerth reports, Democratic state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, is asking for a probe to examine the decision-making by Democratic House leadership.

At issue is House Speaker Greg Stumbo's office ordering the transfer of a female staffer who complained about the behavior of a Democratic lawmaker.

From The C-J:

Legislative Research Commission employee Nicole Cusic said that after she complained to state Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia, about his behavior in 2012 — she alleges he tried to date interns and made inappropriate statements about another staff member — LRC officials moved her out of a suite of offices where Coursey worked to a temporary desk.

Coursey has denied the allegations, but Stein told the newspaper there is "a bad smell, a noxious smell" in the House and a need to regain the public's trust.

In response, the state GOP is pressuring Grimes—who has continually criticized Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell's voting record on women's issues—to speak up.

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Politics
7:30 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Ky. Environmentalists Want Alison Lundergan Grimes to Address Energy Future Beyond Coal

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes

In Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, environmentalists says there's little to distinguish Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes from Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell on coal.

But activists say what they're most disappointed about is Grimes hasn't outlined an agenda that speaks to the future of Kentucky's economy or the country's energy needs.

Ahead of new federal rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the Grimes campaign presented a decidedly pro-coal message by scolding the Obama administration.

When the Environmental Protection Agency released those proposed standards last week, Grimes reiterated her disappointment, saying the regulations were "out of touch" with Kentucky's needs and would hurt middle-class families.

The Grimes campaign told WFPL the first-term secretary of state does acknowledge climate change and the effects carbon emissions have on the planet's weather patterns.

But aides quickly pivoted to emphasize what they call "unnecessary regulations" that hurt Kentuckians who rely on the coal industry to provide for their families.

"While it is important to protect the environment, it is just as important to make sure the men and women of Kentucky are able to provide for their families,"  said Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton. "As Senator, Alison will work to protect the jobs of hardworking Kentuckians in any solution to the changing climate."

A 2007 Supreme Court ruling found that greenhouse gases created by coal-fired plants are pollutants that are harmful to human health, and are thus subject to regulation.

Longtime Louisville environmental activist Sarah Lynn Cunningham says voters who care about the environment are frustrated with Grimes and that enthusiasm is already declining more than a year before Election Day.

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Politics
4:35 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

'Coal Country' State Democrats Defend Alison Lundergan Grimes from GOP Attacks

Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes

Democratic state lawmakers representing Eastern Kentucky are coming to the defense of U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, saying Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell has failed the coal industry.

The comments come as Grimes is being pilloried by Republicans after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked a bill McConnell proposed to ease federal regulations on coal operators.

An industry leader questioned if Grimes could stand up to Reid or the Obama administration.

But state representatives from coalfield areas in the state argue it's McConnell who hasn't done enough to help the struggling industry.

From the Grimes campaign:

"You will not find a stronger advocate than I am for our coal miners and the communities they call home," says state Rep. Leslie Combs, who represents parts of Harlan, Letcher, and Pike Counties. "Mitch McConnell has been in Washington for 30 years, yet he has let Kentucky's greatest industry die on his watch. He likes to tout his leadership in the Senate and on coal. If Senator McConnell has been such a powerful leader on coal, the industry would be thriving and not dying. It's time to put partisanship and rhetoric aside to work together to put Kentuckians back to work."

Other lawmakers such as state House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins and Rep. John Short spoke to Grimes's ability to "reach across the aisle."

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Politics
2:02 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Senate Democrats Blocking McConnell's Coal Bill Puts Alison Lundergan Grimes in Tough Spot

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

The pro-coal message of Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was complicated by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Thursday, who blocked a bill introduced by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to ease federal regulations.

Reid's actions comes just days after Grimes called on the Obama administration to hold off on new environmental restrictions.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell asked for unanimous consent on his  "Saving Coal Jobs Act" to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing carbon emission standards for power plants.

"The EPA has already stifled the permitting process for new coal mines; the agency has done this so dramatically that they have effectively shut down many coal mines through illegitimate, dilatory tactics," McConnell said. "The EPA’s actions ignore the thousands of people in my home state of Kentucky who depend on the coal industry for their livelihoods."

Reid quickly objected to delay the bill while promising to hold a vote at a later date despite McConnell's urgency that the measure is needed now ahead of new EPA emission standards this week.

A coal industry leader had already raised doubts about Grimes being a more effective voice for Kentucky coal operators and miners than McConnell. But Reid's maneuvering raises further questions about whether Grimes can stand up to the Democratic leader while relying on him politically to unseat McConnell.

"Alison isn't afraid to stand up to members of either party," a Grimes campaign aide told WFPL. "She will stand up for Kentucky as its next U.S. Senator. When she is in the Senate she will get things done on behalf of Kentucky's working families. Today just underscores McConnell's weakness and ineffectiveness. His influence isn't working and he's unable to deliver for the people of Kentucky."

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Politics
9:44 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Kentucky Coal Leader Doubts Alison Lundergan Grimes Could Be Stronger Advocate Than Mitch McConnell

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

A top coal industry leader in Kentucky is questioning if Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes can break with President Obama on restraining environmental regulations.

Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett also credits Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for being the industry's chief proponent in Washington, D.C. despite the Grimes campaign blaming the GOP leader for job losses.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to unveil stricter pollution limits this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the country.

Despite reports that regulations would not be as stringent on coal plants as originally expected, Grimes pounced on the Obama administration to hold off.

"Coal keeps the lights on in Kentucky—plain and simple—and I will not stand idle as overreaching regulation adversely impacts jobs and middle-class families. Any new regulations must take into account the impact on Kentucky jobs and be based on current technology that will not drive Kentucky coal out of business," Grimes said.

The message is part of an effort to blunt Republican attacks that Grimes would be beholden to the president's environmental agenda. But attempts to pick up support from Kentucky coal industry leaders has yet to materialize when many already view McConnell as their top advocate.

"One person's position on coal is defined and the other has yet to be," says Bissett. "I would say our industry has looked at Sen. McConnell as the chief adversary of President Obama since he took office. I think you've seen Sen. McConnell be very engaged in coal and standing in the way of a lot the president's policies as it relates to coal in Kentucky."

Bissett adds that Grimes hasn't said much about the subject until now and rarely was involved with the industry's concerns or needs in her capacity as secretary of state.

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Politics
1:56 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Reaching Out to Women Voters, Mitch McConnell Says Democrats Dividing Kentuckians Along Gender Lines

Republican Senator Mitch Mconnell's campaign launches 'Women for Team Mitch'
Credit Phillip M. Bailey

Joined by dozens of women from across Kentucky, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign launched "Women for Team Mitch" to reach female voters and blunt Democratic criticisms.

And McConnell says that regardless of gender, Kentuckians should think about his potential to shape the agenda in Washington if he becomes majority leader next fall.

Those in attendance shared their personal and at times emotional stories about how the senator helped them with business, family and other problems.

Democrats were quick to point out that on the issues McConnell voted against re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act and opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

McConnell says those type of attacks show national Democrats and would-be challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes want to divide Kentuckians along gender lines.

"What you’re going to see by my opponent obviously is the Barack Obama playbook to try to divide people with gender-based attacks. We’ve seen that all too often and some of it has started already. I expect you’ll see more of it over the coming campaign," he says.

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Politics
4:56 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

McConnell Campaign to Launch "Women for Team Mitch" This Week

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

The campaign to re-elect Republican Senator Mitch McConnell is making its first pitch to women voters in an attempt to close the perceived gender gap.

This Friday the campaign will launch "Women for Team Mitch" where McConnell will be joined by his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, along with women from across Kentucky.

It is a sign that the GOP leader understands the need to reach out to women, which is a key voting bloc that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is courting.

National Democrats have pounded McConnell's record on women's issues, which includes voting against the re-authorization the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year.

But aides close to McConnell have said the senator isn't going to ignore the female vote, and is eager to defend his views.

From The New York Times:

Given recent struggles that Republican Senate contenders have had with women’s issues, Mr. McConnell’s advisers say they intend to confront head-on the criticism Democrats have already begun leveling against him on issues they view as particularly important to female voters.

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