2014 Election

Republican dreams of a U.S. Senate takeover have been shattered in recent elections by a collection of "unelectable" nominees — the term of art used by political pros to refer to not-ready-for-prime-time candidates whose extreme views doomed their chances with mainstream voters.

There was Delaware's Christine "I'm Not A Witch" O'Donnell, and Nevada's Sharron "Some Latinos Look More Asian To Me" Angle in 2010.

Last year's contests starred Indiana's Richard "Rape Pregnancies Are A Gift From God" Mourdock, and Missouri's Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin.

McConnell Aide: I'm "Holding My Nose" While Doing Job

Aug 8, 2013

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager says in a telephone conversation taped earlier this year that he is “holding my nose” while doing the job, a less-than-flattering remark about a powerful GOP establishment figure struggling to shore up tea party support at home in Kentucky.

Benton said during the phone call that he thought helping McConnell's 2014 re-election effort would be "a big benefit" to Senator Rand Paul in 2016.

Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, is often mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate.

You can hear the audio of the phone call here.

In a brief telephone interview Thursday, Jesse Benton didn’t dispute the authenticity of the taping, saying he wasn’t confirming it was him, but wasn’t denying it either.

Separately, in a statement emailed to reporters, he said he believes in McConnell and is 100 percent committed to his re-election.

An audio of the Jan. 9 conversation was posted online by Economic Policy Journal. It said the call was placed to Benton by Dennis Fusaro, a one-time aide in former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign.

Democratic Senate front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes has portrayed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as being a chief Republican obstructionist as the rivals shared the spotlight at Kentucky's premier political event.

Grimes, Kentucky's 34-year-old Secretary of State, accused McConnell of being a part of the "disease of dysfunction" in Washington, and blocking legislation just to spite the White House.

"If doctors told Senator McConnell he had a kidney stone, he'd refuse to pass it," said Grimes.

McConnell touted his Senate leadership and ignored Grimes, aiming his criticism at President Barack Obama. Both candidates in next year's Senate race spoke at the Fancy Farm picnic on Saturday in western Kentucky.

McConnell told a raucous crowd that Obama's health-care law is a "disaster", and said he will focus his campaign on the damage the President's policies are having in the Bluegrass State.

A political action committee supporting Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator has raised $1.2 million since its creation in April.

Major donors to the pro-Mitch McConnell Super PAC called Kentuckians for Strong Leadership include Donald Trump, who has given $50,000, and deceased mega-donor Bob Perry, who gave $100,000. The information was found in the PAC’s most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Perry’s donation is listed as having been made June 3, which is almost two months after he died. The PAC’s treasurer told the website Politico that the wrong date was recorded due to a clerical error in the filings.

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has so far spent nearly $400,000 in media ads supporting McConnell’s 2014 re-election campaign.

Kentucky's presumed Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate was in Bowling Green Wednesday, her first stop since her official campaign kick-off Tuesday in Lexington that drew more than a thousand party faithful. 

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is on a bus tour through western Kentucky ahead of Saturday's Fancy Farm political picnic.  She told a crowd gathered at the FOP Lodge in Bowling Green that Washington is lacking the compromise seen under former Democratic Senator Wendell Ford.

"Compromise, common ground, it's not something to be ashamed of," said Grimes.  "Indeed it's necessary and I believe vital to preserve and protect the country that each of us equally loves.  I'm in this race because I believe it needs to be that way again."

Grimes' speech was light on specifics concerning policy.  She declined to speak with reporters covering the event.

Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes will be in Bowling Green Wednesay at noon, as part of what her campaign is calling the "Road to Fancy Farm" bus tour.

Grimes will be at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge on Corvette Drive. Her campaign also has a meet-and-greet scheduled Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Central City.

WKU Public Radio will be at the Warren County event to interview Grimes. We'll have those stories throughout the afternoon during our local newscasts and here at our website.

A Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky is suing his own party, alleging favoritism of one candidacy over others.

Ed Marksberry claims the Kentucky Democratic Party is unfairly and illegally promoting the campaign of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the most well-known and well-funded candidate in the Democratic field so far. 

Marksberry, an Owensboro contractor, filed a lawsuit this week against Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Logsdon. Marksberry says in suit that he was shocked by a July 1 email from the state party announcing Grimes’ campaign because the party had refused to make announcements on his behalf.  Marksberry claims he was told that sending such communications would violate the party’s by-laws, which prohibit the party from using its resources to support one candidate over another in a primary election. 

Marksberry tells the Lexington Herald-Leader the state party is favoring the rich over the working class in his party.  Neither the Grimes’ campaign nor the state Democratic party have commented on the lawsuit.  Marksberry could not be reached Tuesday by WKU Public Radio.

Marksberry, who lost a 2010 bid for Congress, says he is considering running for the U.S. Senate as an Independent.  The winner of the Democratic primary next May will face either Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell or Tea Party activist Matt Bevin, the only two candidates so far in the GOP primary election.

Office of Sec. Grimes

Consider it a "take two": Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes Tuesday will officially kick off her U.S. Senate campaign in Lexington.

When Grimes first announced she was joining the race earlier this month, the event was widely described as disorganized and uninspired. The campaign's senior adviser in later days told reporters Grimes would soon have a second "official" announcement of her Senate campaign.

That's taking place Tuesday afternoon in Lexington. Gov. Steve Beshear will be joining Grimes. When Grimes first announced she was running for Senate, Beshear said she hadn't given him any heads up that she had made a decision.

With Beshear's appearance Tuesday, it appears the Grimes camp is hoping to display a unified Democratic front behind the Secretary of State. Last week, longtime U.S. Senator, former Governor, and Owensboro native Wendell Ford endorsed Grimes for Senate.

Grimes has accused U.S Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of being "out of touch" with Kentucky voters and values. And several polls show the Louisville Republican holding dangerously low favorability ratings with Kentucky voters.

Republican County Clerk Files Complaint Against Grimes

Jul 25, 2013

A county clerk in southeastern Kentucky has asked the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to determine the propriety of a fundraising email sent last wek to government email accounts by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Republican Laurel County Clerk Dean Johnson filed the complaint Thursday, a week after receiving the email from Grimes, a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Johnson is asking the Ethics Commission to determine the legality of the secretary of state sending fundraising emails to county clerks who report to her in in matters pertaining to elections. Johnson said he thinks that Grimes acted unethically by using a government email list to raise money and that she also might have run afoul of state law.

Grimes political adviser Jonathan Hurst had no immediate comment.

Republican Matt Bevin will be in the tiny community of Fancy Farm next week when politicians gather for a heated afternoon of stump speeches.

Bevin, a newcomer to the U.S. Senate race, will share the stage with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the top Democratic challenger, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Aug. 3.

Though the election isn't until next year, the campaign is in full swing. TV ads have been running for weeks already.

One of the Fancy Farm organizers, Mark Wilson, said Bevin was confirmed as a speaker after he announced his candidacy on Wednesday. Two of Kentucky's highest-profile Democrats, Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, won't attend the event.

The political speeches are part of a church picnic that doubles as a fundraiser for St. Jerome Parish. The annual event typically draws some 10,000 people and generates about $250,000.