2015 Election

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway and Republican rival Matt Bevin once again clashed over the expansion of Kentucky's Medicaid system and state-run health exchange, Kynect at a debate held by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday in Louisville.

Bevin has pushed for dismantling Kynect and moving recipients onto the federal health exchange.

“We have a governor who has uncorked a disastrous package of cost on us that we’re going to have to deal with," Bevin stated.

Bevin has argued for the elimination of the state’s expansion of Medicaid, which makes eligible all Kentuckians with incomes at or below 138 percent of the poverty line, and scaling it back to pre-expansion levels.

Conway said if elected he would continue the expansion of Medicaid and state run exchange, saying Kentuckians get better rates through Kynect than on the federal exchange.

“It’s a cheaper, more efficient way to allow people to purchase health insurance,” Conway said.

Conway and Bevin also exchanged a few barbs during the debate—Bevin pointed out that Conway graduated from Kentucky basketball rival Duke University. Conway noted several times that Bevin was not born in Kentucky.

Abbey Oldham

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell will headline a Republican fundraising event in late August for gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin, who last year launched a primary challenge against the longtime senator.

The event will be hosted by Alliance Coal CEO Joe Craft and former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Knight, both of whom chaired the Kentucky fundraising committee for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

McConnell, Craft and Knight’s presence at the event shows a measure of unity among establishment Republicans, who some had speculated wouldn’t aid Bevin after last year’s contentious GOP Senate primary.

Bevin was the benefactor of infighting between two GOP establishment candidates during the primary. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Louisville businessman sparred during the race, which led to a narrow Bevin victory and speculations about a fractured Republican party.

But Bevin and McConnell have repeatedly assured Kentuckians that the GOP is united around Bevin, despite snubs between the two men after McConnell trounced Bevin in last year’s primary last year.

In an invitation sent out on Tuesday morning, attendees are asked to donate $1,000 to Bevin’s campaign for the general election as well as $1,000 for his primary campaign. According to June campaign finance records, Bevin still had almost $111,000 in outstanding debts for the primary, which was in May.

WFPL News

Campaign finance records filed last week reveal a late burst of six-figure donations to James Comer in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for Kentucky governor last month, with similar sums going to a political organization aiming to defeat the eventual primary winner, Matt Bevin.

These latest records shed light on so-called “unauthorized campaign committees,” which can raise and spend money to support or oppose candidates — without the authorization of candidates themselves. Unlike personal donations that are capped at $1,000 in Kentucky, the committees can donate as much as they’d like.

According to candidates’ reports filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, two of these committees spent $743,250 during the period May 6-June 18, about half for Comer, half against Bevin.

Last month Bevin defeated Comer by 83 votes to win the Republican nomination to oppose Democrat Jack Conway in the Nov. 3 election for governor. A millionaire businessman from Louisville, Bevin received no support from unauthorized committees in the May-June reporting period.

omer’s 11th-hour boost came from Kentuckians for Growth, Opportunity & Prosperity, a committee headed by investment adviser and Republican fundraiser Richard Knock of Union, in Northern Kentucky. It gave Comer $315,000, mostly in the week before the primary. The money helped Comer pay for more than $300,000 in TV ads in May.

Flickr

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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