Mitch McConnell

9:04 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Memo: Grimes Campaign Strategy Centers on McConnell Negatives, Divisive GOP Primary

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

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is a vulnerable incumbent with high disapproval ratings and a divisive primary challenge, according to a memorandum by Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes's campaign.

The Grimes team released that message on Wednesday outlining some of the 34-year-old secretary of state's thinking a year ahead of the election.

It reveals a strategy that is relying heavily upon anti-McConnell sentiment and the work of conservative groups backing Republican Matt Bevin in 2014.

But Republicans argue that as a challenger Grimes has failed to put forward an agenda and is becoming increasingly known as a candidate who dodges important policy questions by reporters.

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2:15 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

With Labor Support, Grimes Knocks McConnell's Right to Work Measure

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has received a major labor endorsement ahead of next year's election.

The AFL-CIO of Kentucky announced before a packed house of union members in Louisville that it is formally backing Grimes in the 2014 race, citing her commitment to workers and their families.

"Labor has literally lifted millions out of poverty and it is labor that is the way we're going to continue to grow the middle-class of this state," says Grimes.

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4:13 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Kentucky Tea Partiers to Mitch McConnell: 'Bring it On'

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell at a Tea Party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky Tea Party activist are preparing to wage a primary war against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who they argue is trying to bully the party's conservative base.

The pledge comes after The New York Times reported national Republicans are attempting to undercut an activist group that has endorsed McConnell's primary opponent, Matt Bevin, in a fight one McConnell aide compared to a bar fight.

Senate Conservatives Fund has poured over $300,000 in attack ads targeting McConnell thus far.

In response, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is discouraging GOP campaigns and organizations from working with ad firms that cooperate with SCF.

"This article over the weekend simply steeled our resolve," says United Kentucky Tea Party spokesman Scott Hofstra, who represents a roundtable of over a dozen groups in the state. "We are so convinced that we need to replace Mitch McConnell, and we are prepared for the fight."

Questions remain if the Tea Party has the muscle to take on the GOP leader, who has amassed as many political favors in the Bluegrass as campaign dollars.

Sen. Rand Paul remains a steadfast supporter of McConnell's and Bevin's anemic fundraising totals last month did not bode well for the insurgent candidacy.

Hofstra admits they won't be able to compete with McConnell's financial haul, but confirmed with WFPL that state tea partiers are now coordinating and training activists with The Madison Project—which has also endorsed Bevin—to create a grassroots network.

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10:06 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Matt Bevin Misleading Voters About Relationship With Rand Paul, McConnell Campaign Says

Credit Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons and

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign says primary opponent Matt Bevin is misleading  voters about his relationship with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul during the 2010 race.

It is the latest joust in the increasingly ugly GOP primary battle, with McConnell and Bevin putting their ties to Paul and his high-profile status at the center of the contest.

Asked why Paul is endorsing McConnell in the 2014 primary, Bevin told The New York Times it's due to Paul's political aspirations.

But Bevin added the two share the same principles and were somewhat close three years ago.

From NY Times:

I've known Rand a long time. I was there the night he was elected. I was with him in his suite before he went down. He knows full well that he and I are cut from very, very similar cloth—and that he and Mitch McConnell are not. He understands that.

That is make believe, according to McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton, who is Paul's nephew and ran his general election bid three years ago.

"The truth is, Rand does not know Matt Bevin well," Benton says. "The senator tells me that he has spoken to Bevin only briefly, two or three times, and with each conversation he affirmed his support for McConnell in the 2014 Senate race.

"Mr. Bevin’s latest fiction is insulting to the hundreds of Kentuckians who worked hard, supported Rand form the beginning, lead organized community groups, knocked doors, made phone calls or invested financially before it became clear he was going to Washington."

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6:59 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Saying GOP Challenger Could Face Jail Time, Mitch McConnell Going for Knockout Against Matt Bevin

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and GOP challenger Matt Bevin
Credit File photos

It is safe to call the Kentucky primary race between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and challenger Matt Bevin a nasty contest.

The latest offensive from McConnell says his Tea Party-backed opponent isn't just misleading the public about his past, but argues Bevin may have committed a criminal act in the process that could be grounds for imprisonment.

From the outset McConnell's ruthless campaign told voters Bevin, a Louisville businessman and investor, was an "East Coast con man" whom they couldn't trust.

Even as TV attack ads against Bevin's business record were dubbed mostly false by fact-checkers, the pummeling has escalated and expanded.

As first reported by Buzzfeed last week, Bevin's Connecticut-based bell-making company (Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Co.) sought a $100,000 state grant after it burned down from a fire four years ago.

The online news site found Bevin's company applied for the grant saying it didn't owe any local, state or federal back taxes while failing to disclose a $74,000 IRS lien.

Another Connecticut document obtained by WFPL is dated June 16, 2012. It shows Bevin signed some of the paperwork personally, which stated there were "no federal tax claims or liens" against his company.

McConnell's campaign didn't leave this to just their political operatives, who eagerly attacked Bevin's trustworthiness. Team Mitch also found a Connecticut lawyer who said Bevin could face a $2,000 fine or a year in jail.

"Mr. Bevin apparently admitted that his company paid the tax lien off on September 11, 2012 and the lien was released on Nov. 7, 2012. So, at the time Mr. Bevin signed the certificate under oath, a tax lien in fact was filed against his company contrary to the representations made in the certificate," attorney Peter J. Martin, a Connecticut attorney, said during a McConnell campaign conference call. "Now, I am not a prosecutor, I am not a judge and I am not a jury, but if I was Mr. Bevin’s attorney I would be very concerned."

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11:18 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses Matt Bevin

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin

The Senate Conservatives Fund is endorsing Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin over incumbent Mitch McConnell in next year's Republican primary election.

The nod for the Tea Party backed challenger comes days after McConnell struck a deal with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to reopen the government and avoid default.

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4:10 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Olmsted Dam Supporters Defend $3 Billion for Kentucky Project in McConnell-Reid Deal

Olmsted Lock and Dam

Pushing back against criticisms that's it's a "kickback" for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, business leaders in Western Kentucky are defending efforts to pay for the Olmsted Dam and Lock in the bill ending the government shutdown.

The language in the McConnell-Reid deal increased the funding cap on the project from $775 million to $2.9 billion, which conservative critics blasted as a so-called "Kentucky Kickback" earmark.

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7:16 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

McConnell-Reid Deal Includes $3 Billion Earmark for Kentucky Project

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit File photo

A proposal to end the government shutdown and avoid default orchestrated by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid includes a nearly $3 billion earmark for a Kentucky project.

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3:50 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Kentucky Congressmen Reticent on McConnell-Reid Deal as Moderates Take Lead on Shutdown, Default

Senators Mitch McConnell (l) and Harry Reid (r)

Kentucky Congressmen John Yarmuth and Hal Rogers support Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling, but the rest of Kentucky's federal delegation are withholding judgment until huddling with GOP House leaders.

The deal struck with Democratic Leader Harry Reid appears to have bipartisan support in the Senate, but could face an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled House.

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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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