Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell

Politics
10:16 am
Thu July 11, 2013

McConnell Campaign Raises $2.2 Million in Second Quarter

Flexing its financial muscle the campaign to re-elect Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is reporting it raised $2.2 million in the second quarter.

The numbers haven't been reported with the Federal Election Commission, but campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed the substantial amount with WFPL.

McConnell has now raised over $15 million in total and has close to $10 million on-hand as he seeks a sixth term in office.

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Politics
12:22 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Kentucky, Indiana Lawmakers Pleased But Remain Critical of Obamacare Employer Mandate Delay

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Federal lawmakers from Kentucky and Indiana are pleased with the Obama administration's decision to delay the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans argue this shows the overhaul should be repealed.

Under the law, U.S. businesses with over 50 employees must provide health insurance to their workers and was widely criticized by companies and GOP lawmakers. The mandate was scheduled to begin in 2014, but a post from the White House blog said after ongoing discussions with businesses, it will be implemented on January 1, 2015 instead.

Senators Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,, who has been a constant critic of the law, and Dan Coats, R-In., both issued statements jeering the White House's announcement as a sign the president's health care law is too costly.

Political observers quickly pointed to the decision being pushed back until after next year's mid-term elections, where it was expected to be a theme to help turnout GOP voters.

Republican Andy Barr is a freshman congressman who represents central Kentucky and ran heavily against the health care law in 2012. He says the announcement is an important temporary relief, but an acknowledgement that the Affordable Care Act— also known as Obamacare—is a "train wreck" overall.

"This a good decision for American employers and employees who are facing very costly mandates. And so while this is an important step forward we need to continue to fight to fully repeal Obamacare so that it doesn't continue to have the threat of  killing jobs," he 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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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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Politics
11:37 am
Wed May 15, 2013

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

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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
2:57 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

As IRS Scandal Endures, Kentucky Tea Party Activist Split on Mitch McConnell

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As the scandal surrounding the targeting of tea party groups by the IRS continues, some Kentucky tea party activists are upset with Senator Mitch McConnell's role in the process—even as the state party is asking them to support him.

In Kentucky, only the statewide 9/12 project has come forward to acknowledge that they were targeted and that they were rejecting the IRS' apology on the matter.

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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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Politics
5:45 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Questions Governor's Decision to Expand Medicaid

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

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell questioned Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's long-awaited decision to expand Medicaid coverage under the president's health care law, arguing it will expose Kentuckians to increasing costs.

As Kentucky Public Radio's Kenny Colston reports, Beshear, a Democrat, announced the state's Medicaid program will extend coverage to over 300,000 Kentuckians under the Affordable Care Act or what opponents calls Obamacare.

This means the state's Medicaid rolls will extend to more low-income and poor people who are below 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

The governor called it the right thing to do, and the decision was praised by fellow Democrats and health advocacy groups.

However, Kentucky's senior senator warned the extension will be costly for residents and hurt small businesses.

"Given Kentucky’s struggles to finance its current Medicaid program and the uncertainty of future federal funding, I am surprised the governor would make this decision to further implement Obamacare and expose the commonwealth’s taxpayers to more open ended expenses they cannot afford," McConnell said in a statement.

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Politics
11:25 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Kentucky Republicans Beef Up Campaign Army for U.S. Senate Race; Democrats on Standby

Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

Senator Mitch McConnell's next election is a year and a half away, yet he doesn't have a serious opponent. But this hasn't stopped him from amassing significant money and personnel for his re-election.  

Each week, the effort to re-elect McConnell adds new field directors, political staff and fundraisers.

They have the same goal, but they don't have the same boss. Some of the staffers work for McConnell's campaign. Others for the Republican Party of Kentucky. And others work for SuperPACs.

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