2016 Elections

Sen. Rand Paul stopped at a Louisville Goodwill on Friday to talk about ways to help people with criminal records return to the workforce.

Paul has made criminal justice reform a key initiative during his time in Washington, though the Senate hasn’t passed any major proposals.

Goodwill operates programs that help people with criminal records enter the workforce. On Friday Goodwill and KentuckianaWorks presented their “Re-Entry By Design” program, which helps people on probation or parole put together resumes, prepare for interviews and ultimately find a job.

At the event, Paul said family values-oriented Republicans should logically support legislation that helps people find work despite their criminal records.

Cheryl Beckley, WKU PBS

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has followed through on some principles laid out in his recent autobiography — rebuking GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for comments made against a federal judge of Mexican descent.

In his book “The Long Game,” McConnell underscores his support for civil rights, saying he withdrew his support for Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election because of the Arizona senator’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act.

At a Washington press conference on Tuesday, McConnell told reporters that he disapproved of Trump’s comments against the judge.

“It’s time to stop attacking various people that you competed with or various minority groups in the country,” McConnell said.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

"This is the way the world ends," mused the poet T.S. Eliot, "not with a bang but a whimper." It may be said that the world of 2016 presidential nominating contests is ending with a bit of a bang and a whimper.

Six states held primaries or caucuses on the last big Tuesday (only the District of Columbia remains to vote on June 14), and the results closed out the season with an exclamation point and a question mark — for each of the remaining three candidates.

On the most obvious plane, it was Hillary Clinton's night. She became the first woman to be the presumptive presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party.

"We've reached a milestone," said Clinton, recalling how her mother was born on the day in 1919 when Congress approved the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was ratified by the states the following year, granting women the right to vote.

"Tonight's victory," said Clinton, "belongs to generations of women."

The Washington Post/Washington Post/Getty Images

The primary season isn't quite wrapped yet (six states hold Democratic contests Tuesday), but Hillary Clinton has now secured the number of delegates needed (2,383) to become the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee.

Speaking Monday night, Clinton said, "according to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment. But we still have work to do, don't we?"

It wasn't easy for Clinton to emerge from this campaign season victorious — she got there by applying lessons from her failed 2008 bid and forming strong alliances with Democrats, President Obama and voters of color. And by surviving an epic 11-hour congressional hearing.

Here's a look back at the Democratic primary and 10 steps Clinton took to climb to the nomination:

WFPL News

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is one of many high-profile Republicans who are either uncommitted or say they won’t attend their party’s national convention this summer.

Paul and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had several intense exchanges during presidential debates earlier this year. Paul is one of Kentucky’s convention delegates, but hasn’t committed to attending the Cleveland event.

A spokesman for the Bowling Green Republican told the New York Times the Senator’s schedule was “still being firmed up.”

Two leading GOP politicians from the state hosting the convention, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Senator Rob Portman, haven’t committed to attending the convention.

Senator John McCain of Arizona is one of four living former Republican presidential nominees skipping the event.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

While some of Washington's most prominent Republican leaders are still struggling over whether to endorse Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the call to do so last month — as soon as Trump became the likely nominee.

In fact, for all the talk of the GOP's upheaval, the Kentucky Republican says he doesn't think a Trump nomination will redefine the Republican Party in any substantial way. The party is now at "an all-time high," he said.

McConnell spoke to Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition about what he sees for the future of the GOP — as well as why he approves of Trump's Supreme Court picks and stance on border security, but thinks the candidate's proposed Muslim ban is a "very bad idea."

Interview Highlights

On Trump's picks for the next Supreme Court nominee

The single most important thing I would remind right-of-center voters in suggesting that they vote for Donald Trump is: Who do you want to make the next Supreme Court appointment? Donald Trump has already put out a list of 10 or 11 right-of-center, well-qualified judges, a list from which he would pick. I think that issue alone should comfort people in voting for Donald Trump for president.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

In his attempt to maintain control of the U.S. Senate and send a Republican to the White House this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is walking an awkward line when talking about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, McConnell was asked if Trump’s nomination would help Republican candidates for Senate during the November general election.

“I think we don’t know yet,” McConnell said. “What I do think is that Senate races are big enough to where you can paint your own picture. And all of our candidates are going to be in a good position to run.”

Republicans are defending 24 of their 54 seats in the Senate and Democrats are defending 10 of their 44 seats.

Steve Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky, says it’s unclear if Trump will ultimately hurt the GOP’s chances further down the ballot because he both energizes new voters and disenfranchises established ones.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

This election has brought a bitter primary season: candidates at each other's throats; a Democratic Party in crisis. But it's nothing new.

Eight years ago, the Democratic Party was recovering after a brutal primary between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Now, the party has found itself in a similar place.

This week on For the Record: Lessons learned from the 2008 Democratic primary, with two political operatives who lived through it.

Back then, Mo Elleithee and Bill Burton were each fighting for a potentially historic win in camps that got increasingly competitive.

David Goldman/AP

One way we know we are (finally) nearing the end of this presidential nominating season is that both major parties have begun talking about big changes to the way they choose their nominees.

Both parties have been stunned by outsider candidates in this cycle. But the shock seems to be moving them in opposite directions. That may be because one party's outsider has actually won the nomination while the other's is falling short.

Some in the GOP are distressed at Donald Trump's taking over, and they want to restore more party control. The changes they contemplate might alter the sequence of voting events or limit independents' participation in the primaries.

The feelings are quite the reverse these days among Democrats. Although Hillary Clinton, the establishment favorite, seems assured of the nomination, she and other party leaders have been stung by runner-up Bernie Sanders' frequent and vociferous accusations of a "rigged system."

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump now has the support of 1,238 delegates — just a hair above the 1,237 threshold needed to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, according to The Associated Press.

Trump was able to reach that number Thursday after 29 unbound Republican delegates told the AP that they would support him at the party's July convention. Fifteen of those unbound delegates came from North Dakota, seven from Pennsylvania, two each from West Virginia and Nevada and one each from Colorado, New Hampshire and Oklahoma (the unbound delegate who announced her support for Trump in this state is GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard).

Most Republican delegates are bound by the results of their states' presidential primary elections but as many as 200 are not bound by those rules.

Five states including California vote on June 7 with more than 300 delegates at stake. As the sole candidate left running on the GOP side, Trump will easily add to his slim delegate edge on that day.

Trump is now the Republican Party's presumptive nominee; he won't be the official nominee until the July convention in Cleveland when delegates vote. But Trump reaching the magic number caps the businessman's unlikely presidential run and rise and avoids further talk of a possible contested GOP convention.

Thinkstock

There are 65 contested races in the Kentucky House of Representatives this year, and the political stakes are high.

Republicans are once again angling to take control of the chamber, which happens to be the last legislative body controlled by Democrats in the South. Democrats control the House with a 53-47 margin.

Al Cross, a Courier-Journal columnist and director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, said they have an uphill battle.

“The Democrats will have little money to put into these races,” Cross said. “The party is not in good financial shape, it doesn’t have a good way to raise money because it lacks power.”

Democrats have enjoyed governors’ ability to headline fundraisers that benefit the state party or local campaigns for 39 of the last 43 years. Now Bevin has the mantle.

Jae C. Hong/AP

Bernie Sanders' campaign has requested a "recanvass" of voting in the Kentucky primary — not a "recount."

They are not the same.

What's the difference?

As NPR's Asma Khalid noted on air — a recanvass will "entail checking all of the voting machines and absentee ballots in all each of the state's counties to verify the accuracy of the vote totals."

In other words, individual ballots will not be checked. A recount would have re-checked how people voted on actual ballots.

Hillary Clinton leads Sanders by less than 2,000 votes following the May 17 primary.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL News

Despite his failed presidential run, Sen. Rand Paul easily won the Republican nomination for reelection to his Senate seat last week.

Paul said he would support his former rival in the presidential race — Donald Trump — in the likely case that the New York businessman is the party’s nominee. But during an interview at last week’s NRA conference in Louisville, Paul said Trump “has a ways to go” to unite the Republican Party behind him.

“But I think he’s heading in the right direction,” Paul added.

Trump is the only candidate remaining in the Republican nominating contest. He’s been working to unite GOP leaders who have been skeptical of his candidacy and conservative credentials.

Some Republicans have questioned Trump’s support of gun rights; he worked to solidify his qualifications at the Louisville NRA event, calling for the elimination of gun-free zones and bashing likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s record on guns.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL News

During a speech at the National Rifle Association convention in Louisville on Friday, Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton the most “anti-gun” candidate to ever run for president.

Trump said that Clinton wants to “abolish” the Second Amendment and, if elected, would appoint anti-gun Supreme Court justices.

“The Second Amendment is under a threat like never before,” he said. “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the most anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment candidate ever to run for office.”

Clinton has never called for abolishing the Second Amendment but has pushed for increased background checks and closing the “gun show loophole.”

Trump called for the elimination of gun-free zones, saying that if concert-goers had been armed during November attacks on the Bataclan Theater in Paris, not as many people would have died.

LRC Public Information

Two longtime state representatives were defeated in yesterday’s primary election, and a newcomer defeated a longtime Louisville Metro Councilman in another state House race.

Rep. Tom Riner, a Democrat from Louisville, was ousted by former Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, who criticized the 35-year incumbent for not being a “real Democrat.”

“The vote tonight says to me that District 41, which is 62 percent women, want a woman to represent them in Frankfort,” Scott said in a phone interview with WFPL.

Scott has no Republican challengers in the general election. She is the first African-American woman elected to the General Assembly since Eleanor Jordan, who left office in 2000.

“For them to elect me as the first black woman in Frankfort in nearly 20 years also says that people realize that this is the 21st Century, and it’s time to move forward and move forward together,” Scott said.

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