Associated Press

One of every 10 registered voters in Kentucky is expected to vote in Tuesday's primary elections.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says the low turnout forecast is based on about 5,100 absentee votes cast and results from previous elections.

Attorney General Jack Conway is likely to win the Democratic primary for governor. Republicans Matt Bevin, James Comer, Hal Heiner and Will T. Scott are all vying for the Republican nomination. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

The Republican primary for governor has been contentious. Grimes said negative campaigning usually depresses turnout, citing Kentucky's 2014 U.S. Senate race as an example. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Grimes spent tens of millions of dollars on negative advertising in that race, not including spending from outside groups.

The running mates in Kentucky's contentious Republican primary for governor tested their candidates' messages before a statewide television audience Monday night in the first of two pivotal debates ahead of the May 19 election.

The debate was overshadowed early by tensions between the campaigns of James Comer and Hal Heiner. Chris McDaniel, Comer's running mate, attacked Heiner running mate KC Crosbie for her and her husband's contact with a blogger that has accused Comer of committing a crime while in college. The allegation is unproven and Comer has denied it. McDaniel took the contact personally, noting that the same blogger has made threatening comments online toward his children in the past.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky's two U.S. senators have introduced legislation they say will level the playing field for American bourbon and whiskey producers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office said in a news release Monday that unlike most other spirits, bourbon and whiskey producers must capitalize interest expense that's incurred to finance inventories and it isn't deductible until the product is sold, as long as 23 years after the liquor is aged. The release said in the U.K., spirit producers may deduct interest the year it's capitalized.

McConnell and Sen. rand Paul on Monday introduced a bill that would allow American bourbon and whiskey makers to deduct interest associated with production in the year it's paid.

McConnell said more than 15,000 jobs in Kentucky are related to the bourbon industry, which produces billions of dollars for the state's economy.

Kevin Willis

President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in parts of Kentucky affected by severe winter storms.

The White House said the disaster declaration was signed Thursday, ordering federal aid to help state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by snowstorms, flooding, landslides and mudslides earlier this year.

Three of Kentucky's top Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Obama earlier Thursday urging him to approve Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's request for federal funds to help clean up from the storms.

U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul along with U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers sent the letter saying counties throughout the state suffered extensive damage.

Beshear requested the disaster declaration on April 16. It took several weeks for state officials to do all of the work to submit the request, the result of new procedures implemented by FEMA.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says there will be lane closures on Interstate 65 in northern Hardin County during the next couple of weeks.

The northbound lanes will be affected starting Sunday night, with the inside and center lanes closed at 7 p.m. for concrete repairs between mile points 102 and 104 near the Bullitt County line. The work should be finished Friday, depending on weather.

Southbound lanes will be reduced to one lane between mile points 104 and 102 beginning at 7 p.m. May 10, also for concrete repairs. That work is expected to be finished May 13 if weather is clear.

The cabinet advises reducing speed and preparing for slow or stopped traffic when approaching the work zones. Expect delays during peak hours, and consider alternate routes.

The judge whose ruling striking down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage led to an appeal heard this week in the U.S. Supreme Court, has died. He was 66.

WAVE-TV and The Courier-Journal, citing an announcement from the court, are reporting that U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II died Wednesday at home after battling cancer for several years.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying Heyburn had delivered opinions in complex cases over more than two decades on the bench but would also be remembered for his devotion to his family.

Last year, Heyburn struck down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage and on recognizing same-sex marriages from outside the state. The rulings were reversed on appeal, but the Supreme Court heard arguments on them Tuesday.

James Comer leads all Republican candidates for governor with more than $800,000 raised from individual donors in the first four months of 2015.

But the state agriculture commissioner has been outspent nearly 3 to 1 by Hal Heiner, the former Louisville Metro councilman who loaned his campaign more than $4 million last summer. Louisville businessman Matt Bevin has also been a big spender, loaning his campaign $1.25 million after filing for office in January and spending more than $1 million, mostly on TV commercials.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott's report was not available.

Both Comer and Heiner have more than $1 million in the bank less than a month before the primary. Bevin has just over $286,000. The candidates are scheduled to appear together at the Rotary Club of Louisville on Thursday.

Officials in Middlesboro have given preliminary approval to a citywide smoking ban.

The vote Tuesday came after a request from a group of elementary school students involved with Destination Imagination, an educational nonprofit organization that tries to encourage and equip young leaders.

The Middlesboro Elementary School students proposed an ordinance that would ban smoking in all public places. Their presentation to the City Council last month included a petition with more than 400 signatures and information about the health effects of smoking.

The City Council's first reading of the ordinance to ban smoking passed unanimously. A second and final vote is set for May 19.

Erica Peterson, Kentucky Public Radio

Federal officials have begun reviewing a proposal to "repurpose" a natural gas pipeline that runs through 18 counties in Kentucky and is taking public comment about it.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is preparing an environmental assessment and will take comments through May 18 on a proposal by Kinder Morgan to convert its Tennessee Gas Pipeline to carry natural gas liquids instead of natural gas.

Some officials and residents in central Kentucky have raised concerns about the ramifications if there's a leak or an explosion, especially near rivers and lakes that supply communities with drinking water.

Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley has said the company plans upgrades and would thoroughly test the line before returning it to service.

Prices of retail food items in Kentucky fell during the last quarter, the first time since June 2013, in a survey of grocery costs.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation's latest Marketbasket Survey was taken in March. The organization says the average total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $126.22, or 2.3 percent lower than the figure reported in the previous quarter.

The federation said in a news release that the figure is still 4.6 percent higher than the total reported at the same time last year.

The release said five of the six food groups included in the survey reported reductions in average prices. Dairy was the greatest with an average price drop of 7.8 percent. Beef was the only category with an increase.

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