2015 Election

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The Warren County Clerk predicts her office will complete Thursday’s recanvass in about one hour.

Lynette Yates doesn’t believe there will be great changes to the vote totals in the Republican primaries for governor and agriculture commissioner. She says her office will first scan electronic cards that compiled totals from each voting machine in the county.

“Then we have tapes coming out of each of those voting machines that back up those numbers. So what we will do tomorrow is get all of those tapes out of all of our precincts, and recalculate everything, and go over all the numbers.”

After the recanvass, each county clerks office will fax their updated numbers to the state board of elections.

“I don’t think that there will be a lot of change,” Yates said. “There shouldn’t be—but sometimes calculations with the machines may not have scanned correctly, or something like that. That would be very obscure for something like that to have happened.

James Comer asked for a recanvass of the GOP gubernatorial primary that he lost to Matt Bevin by 83 votes. The other race being recanvassed tomorrow is the Republican Agriculture Commissioner primary, which Ryan Quarles won by a little more than 1,400 votes over Richard Heath.

State Representative Richard Heath of Mayfield will seek a recanvass after narrowly losing his bid for theRepublican nomination for agriculture commissioner in Tuesday’s primary.

With more than 180,000 votes cast in the race, State Representative Ryan Quarles came out ahead of Heath by less than 1,000 votes. Jean-Marie Lawson Spann of Bowling Green was unopposed for the Democraticnomination for agriculture commissioner.

Incumbent commissioner Republican James Comer opted to run for governor rather than seek re-election.

Will T. Scott has trailed in the polls to be the next Republican candidate for governor, but he’s not giving up.

“I’m California Chrome,” Scott said, referring to the horse who won the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. “Remember how far California Chrome was coming into the turn? Who won the race?”

California Chrome’s jockey, Victor Espinoza drafted the thoroughbred behind two speedier horses before sprinting to the finish for his second Kentucky Derby win.

In a primary election in which only 10 percent of eligible voters are predicted to vote, Scott said he has a loyal base that will come out for him just when he needs them to.

“My people are hard. They’re hard, solid people they don’t change. Everybody else has got some soft folks who are showing right now,” Scott said.

The 67-year-old describes himself as a “lunch pail Republican” who wants to run a “working-people government.”

Two weeks ago, the Comer-McDaniel campaign saw nothing but fair skies as the candidates flew to four Kentucky cities in one day, rolling out the final planks of their “Plan For All Kentuckians.”

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, was still riding on the good news that his campaign had out-fundraised his opponents in the race for governor last quarter—more than $1 million dollars, three times what the three other Republicans raised combined.

At a stop at a charter flight company in Paducah, Comer addressed a small, packed room of supporters, and took a moment to recognize the attacks that had begun to cloud his campaign.

“I’m getting hit by a Republican because they said we’re a Frankfort insider,” Comer said after the press conference.

“We’re not running TV commercials blasting everybody in Frankfort right now, which is what the wealthiest of my four opponents is doing.”

A new statewide survey shows the Kentucky Republican primary for governor is a tossup between the top three candidates.

The Survey USA poll found Matt Bevin with 27 percent support, James Comer with 26 percent, and Hal Heiner with 25 percent. Will T. Scott trailed with just 8 percent support.

The poll describes the difference between the top three contenders as “not statistically significant”, and says the trio could finish one, two, and three in any order.

The survey polled 517 respondents who said they were registered Republicans and certain to vote in next week’s primary.

The GOP voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The survey was conducted for The Courier-Journal, WHAS-TV, the Lexington Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV.

Abbey Oldham

Matt Bevin has done laps around Kentucky in a messy black suburban, searching for his big political break.

The search started last year with an unsuccessful  bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. It started anew this year with a campaign to be the party’s gubernatorial nominee.

“This is the campaign-mobile in all its splendor,” Bevin said during an interview in his SUV crammed with the candidate’s belongings.

“I’ve got suits for later tonight and stuff I’ve got signs and all kinds of things. This is where it’s at. This thing’s got 186,000-plus miles on it and a lot of lovin’—this is the family truckster.”

After all those miles, Bevin is hoping that big break finally come as the presumed Republican front-runners—former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer—duke it out in a nasty political fight.

Alix Mattingly, WFPL

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer tag-teamed attacks against former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner on Wednesday during a debate of Republican gubernatorial candidates.

The debate hosted, by the radio program Kentucky Sports Radio, came less than two weeks before the May 19 primary and days after The Courier-Journal published an accusation of domestic abuse against Comer.

The candidates accused Heiner of surrounding himself with operatives who levy attacks against his opponents while Heiner himself avoids personal responsibility.

“Hal Heiner has surrounded himself with the surliest and sorriest group of people who have smeared and assassinated other people in this race, and he can sit here and tell people that he has said nothing but positive things,” Bevin said during the debate.

The debate proved to be the most heated exchange between the candidates so far. This was in part because moderator Matt Jones—known best for his adamant support of Kentucky Wildcats athletics—pressed candidates on issues surrounding allegations that Comer abused his college girlfriend.

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Agriculture Commissioner James Comer on Tuesday flatly denied published allegations that he abused a woman he dated in the early 1990s.

The Courier-Journal article, published Monday evening, included excerpts from a four-page letter written by a woman who alleged that Comer mentally and physically abused her while they were in a relationship at Western Kentucky University. The woman also alleged that Comer took her to a Louisville abortion clinic in 1991.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Comer, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, called the accusations “bizarre and untrue” and said he was considering filing a lawsuit against people “shopping the story,” and the newspaper.

“That the Courier-Journal is publishing this garbage is a reflection on them, not me. They should be ashamed of this Rolling Stone-style journalism,” Comer said.

Comer also questioned the timing of the story, which was published just after a debate of lieutenant governor candidates on KET and the night before a press conference in which Comer touted the success of Kentucky’s hemp industry.

A record number of Kentuckians are registered to vote just ahead of the primary election on May 19, the secretary of state’s office announced Monday.

Despite this, voter turnout in this year’s primary is still expected to be low, with estimates ranging from 15 percent down to the single digits.

Kentucky has 3,175,905 voters registered, up from 3,147,157 in the November general election last year—the state’s previous record for voters registered.

“I am excited to see that more and more Kentuckians are registering to vote, and I hope these newly registered voters will exercise their right and responsibility to vote in the primary election,” said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who presides over elections in the state.

A little over 2.9 million people are registered as Republicans or Democrats, meaning they can vote in this month’s primary—which will decide which candidates end up on the November ballot for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and other statewide offices.

Another federal court has ruled that a Kentucky law that banned electioneering close to polling places violates free-speech rights.

A panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a judge's ruling that struck down the law.

The law was challenged by a northern Kentucky businessman after campaign signs were pulled from the yard of his auto body shop on election days in 2012 and 2014. He said the signs were removed by sheriff's deputies because they were within 300 feet of a polling place.

The appeals court panel said Kentucky officials failed to show why the state needs a no-political-speech zone much larger than the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld.

A spokeswoman for state Attorney General Jack Conway says the office is reviewing the ruling.

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