Mitch McConnell

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
10:44 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Heather French Henry Calls for Political 'Time Out' After GOP Attack

Heather French Henry
Credit Wikipedia Commons

In a scolding blog post, former Miss America Heather French Henry calls out the Republican Party of Kentucky for calling her the latest "bottom-of-the-barrel pick" for the U.S. Senate race.

Henry is the latest rumored opponent for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and she recently confirmed that Democrats have approached her about running.

Others include environmental activist Tom FitzGerald, music promoter Bennie J. Smith and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The news of Henry's possible candidacy has been mocked by national and state GOP leaders for the most part, but a comment from RPK spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper has upset Henry personally.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

"Heather French Henry is just the latest bottom-of-the-barrel pick for Kentucky Democrats in their desperate search for a 2014 Senate race savior to replace their noncommittal star, Alison Lundergan Grimes," Kelsey Cooper, a spokeswoman for the state GOP, said via email.

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Politics
8:00 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Alison Lundergan Grimes Must ‘Immediately Decide’ on Senate Bid

Ky. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.

Kentucky's lone Democratic congressman says he is confident the party will find an opponent to defeat Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, but adds Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes needs to make a decision.

The GOP is beginning to gloat that Democrats cannot find a suitable challenger willing to take on McConnell next year.

Grimes is considered the top contender in the field and she met with Governor Steve Beshear last week to discuss the race. But Grimes was still "wrestling" with the idea of running for Senate after sitting down with the governor.

Observers are beginning to question if the race is beyond Democrat's reach despite McConnell's unpopularity. The GOP leader has a $13.5 million head start and the political rumor mill is beginning to move on to former Miss America Heather French Henry, who is now reportedly being encouraged to run.

In an exclusive WFPL interview, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says Grimes needs to let whatever those plans are known before the summer or risk hurting the party.

"I do think that it is important that Alison Grimes immediately decide whether she’s running or not because there are a number of people sitting on the sidelines who would be interested I think in making a race who are waiting to find out what she does. And for her to keep prolonging this as she said possibly until the late summer I think is a disservice to the party," he says.

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Politics
6:52 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Ethics Questions Raised After Mitch McConnell's Chief of Staff Appears in Politico Ad

Josh Holmes in Politico's ad.
Credit Politico

A Politico video featuring the chief of staff for Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been removed by the Washington publication after ethical questions were raised.

In a story first reported by Roll Call, an idea was pitched to McConnell chief of staff Josh Holmes to appear in a video endorsing Politico's coverage. It shows Holmes explaining his vision for America, love of public service and why he reads Politico all while sitting in the senator's office.

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Environment
5:52 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Senate Advances McConnell Measure to Promote Fishing, Block Safety Restrictions Near Dams

Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

A measure to stop the Army Corps of Engineers from restricting access to the Cumberland River near locks and dams is moving through Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell added the amendment to a water resources bill that passed the Senate today.  In a news release, McConnell said restricting access to the water directly below dams would have a devastating effect on fishermen and the local economy.

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Politics
11:37 am
Wed May 15, 2013

MSNBC's Chris Matthews: Mitch McConnell 'Will Not Have a Serious Opponent' Due to IRS Scandal

Credit Shutterstock

MSNBC host Chris Matthews is predicting the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives will benefit Republican Mitch McConnell, and could result in an easy re-election for Kentucky's senior senator.

The agency has apologized for flagging political organizations with "tea party" and "patriot" in their name, but Republicans and Democrats have jabbed the Obama administration for not responding forcefully enough.

McConnell has pounced on the IRS controversy after all but predicting the controversy when he spoke out against the IRS targeting such groups last summer. Speaking from the Senate floor Wednesday, McConnell warned the president shouldn't "stonewall" any investigation and dismissed the agency's explanation.

Speaking on Morning Joe, Matthews says the scandal will haunt President Obama and the Democratic Party in the 2014 elections, adding it will likely save McConnell from a serious challenge.

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Politics
1:09 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Mitch McConnell Demands White House Investigate IRS for Targeting Conservative Groups

Credit U.S. Senate

Update: White House spokesman Jay Carney says an inspector general is looking into the matter

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is calling on the Obama administration to conduct a government-wide probe in the wake of an admission by the Internal Revenue Service that it targeted conservative groups.

 

The IRS apologized on Friday for inappropriately flagging conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews.

Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong and she apologized while speaking at a conference in Washington.

McConnell says the admission is proof that his earlier concerns were well founded, adding the White House needs to review the agency's actions.

"Now more than ever we need to send a clear message to the Obama administration that the First Amendment is non-negotiable, and that apologies after an election year are not an sufficient response to what we now know took place at the IRS," he says. "This kind of political thuggery has absolutely no place in our politics."

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