Mitch McConnell

Politics
2:30 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Kentucky Democrats Broil Mitch McConnell Over Rand Paul's 'Southern Avenger' Aide

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

The chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party is calling on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to condemn an aide in Senator Rand Paul's office who was once a member a neo-Confederate group.

In a story the Washington Free Beacon reported Paul's social media director Jack Hunter, 39, belonged to a group that advocates southern secession.

It also found that up until Hunter was hired by Paul last year, he worked as a radio shock jock dubbed the "Southern Avenger" who praised Abraham Lincoln's assassination and said a non-white majority in the country would "simply cease to be America."

The aide's comments have put Paul's judgment for hiring him—and his potential 2016 presidential candidacy—under harsh scrutiny form critics. But state Democrats took the story as a chance to take quick swipe at Paul and link McConnell to his junior Kentucky colleague.

"The shameful history of Senator Rand Paul's senior staffer is embarrassing and I call on Senator Paul to condemn him immediately," says KDP Chairman Dan Logsdon. "Unfortunately, we're seeing more and more of this bizarre extremism, not just from Senator Paul, but also from Senator Mitch McConnell, as he caters to the radical fringe of his party."

The McConnell campaign says racism has no place in politics, but stopped short of denouncing Hunter and instead pivoted to criticize Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

"If Dan Logsdon would look up from the disaster that is Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign long enough to notice, he would see that Rand Paul has done more to reach out to African American and Hispanic communities in the past six months than Logsdon has done his entire career," says McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton. "We would hope everyone agrees that racism has no place in politics, which is why it was particularly disappointing that Secretary Grimes failed to condemn a liberal Super PAC’s racist tweets targeting Senator McConnell's wife."

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Politics
9:00 am
Thu July 4, 2013

A Political Career May Still be in Heather French Henry's Future

Heather French Henry
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Heather French Henry may enter politics one day, but not now.

And, if she does, it could be at the state, federal or local level.

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Politics
4:30 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Kentucky U.S. Senate Race Pits Grimes Inexperience Against McConnell Unpopularity

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

The entrance of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the race for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Mitch McConnell makes the Kentucky contest one of the most closely watched in the country.

And the early jabs appear to put up Grimes's relative inexperience against McConnell's wide unpopularity.

After meeting with supporters, Grimes announced this week she intends to seek the party's nomination to run against the GOP leader next year.

Immediately, the McConnell campaign and GOP groups mocked Grimes’s rollout as a sign the first-term secretary of state isn't prepared to run at the national level.

The amount of attention spent on poking fun at Grimes could be further evidence this race will be the nastiest in 2014. But the Grimes team argues a full campaign rollout will be active by the end of July, and the criticisms are a petty distraction.

"Alison wanted to talk with supporters and when she concluded meeting with them she was going to make her intentions know, and that's what she did. We have always said that she does plan to do a rollout across Kentucky listening to voters and talking to the families of Kentucky about this campaign," says Grimes spokesman Jonathan Hurst. "The Republicans clearly don't have any substance so this about the only thing they can use."

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Politics
5:09 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Comes Out Swinging Against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky U.S. Senate Race

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

Speaking before a group of supporters, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes didn't waste time going after Republican Mitch McConnell's tenure.

Grimes, a 34-year-old Lexington attorney, made the announcement Monday afternoon that she is seeking the party's nomination.

A first-term secretary of state who coasted to victory two years ago, Grimes is the daughter of Jerry Lundergan, a former Kentucky Democratic Party Chair, who is a close friend of former President Bill Clinton. She was praised by political observers in 2011 for running a positive campaign ad featuring her grandmothers.

For months, Republicans have mocked Democrats in their search for a top-tier candidate. Many party officials and elected representatives have been outspoken in urging Grimes to run against the GOP leader in next year's election.

Long before Grimes announced, however, the McConnell campaign, GOP groups and conservative super PAC's were pummeling her in online and TV ads. And McConnell also has raised approximately $13 million for his re-election thus far, which gives him a fundraising edge.

Grimes says she is used to being an underdog, but is confident voters won't buy into McConnell's notoriously vicious and effective attack ads.

"His ads are based out of fear of losing his 30 year grip on power. And this Kentucky woman does not believe that the voters of Kentucky will be fooled that easily," she says.

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Politics
11:46 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes is Running for Mitch McConnell's Senate Seat

Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

Update: Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Monday that she will challenge U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. 

In May, a poll stated that Grimes—Kentucky's Secretary of State—was evenly matched against McConnell, who was first elected in 1984. 

Grimes, an attorney, was elected Secretary of State in 2011.

"I agree with thousands of Kentuckians that Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction," she said in her announcement.

Grimes has been a long-rumored possibility for the Democratic primary—especially after actress/activist Ashley Judd declined to run.

WFPL is following the developing story and will have more information soon.

Earlier: Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is meeting with supporters on Monday afternoon and will make an announcement regarding the U.S. Senate race against Republican Mitch McConnell.

Since March, Grimes has been considered the best Democratic choice to run against McConnell in next year’s election at the urging of state and national party figures.

Even though she isn't in the race officially, Grimes hasn't been spared attack ads.

The McConnell campaign, national Republicans and GOP-leaning super PACs have criticized Grimes in recent weeks trying to link her to President Obama's agenda.

Grimes is meeting with a group of regional coordinators at her Frankfort campaign headquarters at 2 p.m., and will talk with the media an hour later.

"I don't know what she's leaning towards. She hasn't told me," says Jonathan Hurst, a Grimes spokesman. "I couldn't make a guess on it and be honest about it."

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Politics
12:25 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Mitch McConnell Says Immigration Reform Fails to Properly Secure U.S. Border

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Credit U.S. Senate

UPDATE: The Senate passed the 'Gang of 8' bill by a 68-32 margin with 14 Republicans joining Democrats to approve the legislation.

Earlier: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is voting against the comprehensive immigration reform bill due to a lack of border security provisions.

The Senate is expected to vote on the final version of the so-called ‘Gang of 8’ measure on Thursday, and observers predict it will receive bipartisan support.

Earlier this week, lawmakers amended the bill to include a number of security provisions such as doubling the number of federal agents, authorize aerial drones to track illegal crossings and require a 700-mile fence to be constructed along the U.S.-Mexico line.

The changes were co-sponsored by Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota, and received a bipartisan 69-29 vote in the Senate.

But speaking on the Senate floor Thursday morning, McConnell says the legislation still doesn't meet a proper threshold of needed security and that it repeats the problems with previous bills.

"In other words, in the absence of a very firm, results-based border security trigger, there’s just no way I can look at my constituents, look them in the eye and tell them that today’s assurances won’t become tomorrow’s disappointments. And since the bill before us doesn’t include such a trigger, I won’t be able to support it,” he says.

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Environment
1:04 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Ahead of Obama's Climate Change Speech, Coal and Environmental Groups React

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

President Obama is scheduled to lay out his plan for addressing climate change this afternoon, and politicians and organizations have already begun weighing in.

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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
10:33 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.

Watch:

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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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