2016 Elections

A pastor running for state representative in Bullitt County has taken down offensive Facebook posts after reproach from both political parties in the state. In an interview with WDRB, he refused to apologize for depicting President Obama as a monkey.

Dan Johnson of Mt. Washington, Kentucky posted a variety of offensive memes: a cartoon car running over Black Lives Matter protesters, several that compared President and First Lady Obama to monkeys and another calling for states to “ban” Islam.

One picture simply said “I *Heart* Being White.”

In a cell-phone video of the full video posted on Johnson’s Facebook page, he defended the posts as satire and said that he was not a racist.

“It’s not a racist thing,” he said. “I love people, God love’s people. I think one of the things that’s happened in our generation is we’ve become so politically correct that we’re afraid to be ourselves.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says many Kentuckians are just now starting to pay attention to the state’s U.S. Senate race.

Gray is the Democratic nominee who is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Rand Paul of Bowling Green.

The race isn’t receiving the same kind of national attention as several other U.S. Senate campaigns across the country, including Indiana’s.

But Gray says he’s not worried about perceptions that Kentucky’s race is uncompetitive.

“I’m accustomed to being in an underdog position. Every time I’ve run, I’ve been behind when I started the race—and I won the race.”

Gray says Congress currently lacks the ability to solve the nation’s most pressing problems. The Lexington Mayor says he would work as a bridge-builder between Republican and Democratic Senators, in an effort to find compromise on issues like job creation, infrastructure, and national security.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

You could see the contrast in the eyes of the respective candidates' spokespersons, surrogates and family members after the first presidential debate of 2016 had wrapped.

As always, earnest efforts were made on both sides to claim victory — even insist on it — after the nationally televised clash between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.]

"Trump was especially strong on the issues in the first 45 minutes," said former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on CNN.

Yet a general and clear consensus formed quickly among the snap pollsters, focus groups, reporters, commentators and TV panelists. And it did not favor Trump.

In sum: Clinton projected more of what she wanted than Trump, who did not strike the contrast or meet the expectations set up by his own campaign.

Patrick Semansky/AP

The first presidential debate tonight is shaping up to be one of the most-watched political events ever, with a potentially Super Bowl-size audience.

Here are four things to watch for as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump take the stage at Hofstra University on Long Island.

1. Which Trump shows up

Donald Trump "won" the primary debates by dominating his opponents, often by name-calling and bluster. This one will be different.

Instead of facing multiple opponents, he will be doing something he's never done before — face off against just one opponent (and in this case an experienced one) on a debate stage.

Hillary Clinton continues to beat out Donald Trump when it comes to raising cash from Kentuckians.

The Democratic candidate for president raised roughly $167,000 in the Bluegrass State in August, according to data released this week from the Federal Election Commission. Trump reported receiving just more than $128,000.

Clinton also outpaced Trump in the number of individual contributions: 2,556 to 805.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images

The biggest reason supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton support their candidate is because they're not the other.

That's the finding from a Pew Research Center study of a month's worth of survey data. Pew found, from more than 4,000 interviews conducted online and by mail, that the "main reason" supporters of both candidates were voting for their candidate was because "he is not Clinton," and "she is not Trump." Almost one out of every three people said so.

He's "Not a LIAR," wrote one 75-year-old male Trump supporter.

"The concept of Trump as POTUS is terrifying," said a 35-year-old female Clinton supporter.

"Hillary Clinton represents everything that is wrong in government," a 50-year-old woman said. "SHE CAN NOT BECOME PRESIDENT!!"

Yana Paskova/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton is set to return to the campaign trail on Thursday after taking a three-day hiatus to recover from pneumonia.

"Thanks very much for your continued patience today as [Clinton] remains home. She has spent the day catching up on reading briefings, making calls, and she watched President Obama's speech in Philadelphia on TV. We will resume campaign travel on Thursday, more details to come," the Democratic nominee's campaign told reporters in an email.

Clinton has not campaigned since Sunday, after she left a Sept. 11 memorial service after her campaign said she became overheated and dehydrated. A video later showed her losing her balance and being helped into a Secret Service van. Clinton went to her daughter, Chelsea's, nearby apartment and left without assistance about 90 minutes later. Her campaign later revealed she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday.

Ryland Barton

Democratic congressional candidate Nancy Jo Kemper said Tuesday that Republican Gov. Matt Bevin should be impeached on the grounds that calling for innocent lives to be taken is illegal.

Kemper is referring to a speech Bevin made over the weekend at a Family Research Council event in Washington D.C. in which he said that Americans might have to shed blood to protect conservative values if Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is elected president.

“I believe that his call to shed the blood of fellow Americans is unconstitutional and a violation of his sworn oath to uphold the laws of the commonwealth,” Kemper said at a news conference.

Bevin went on to say that if Clinton were elected, “patriots” might have to “pay the price” by shedding their own blood and the blood of “tyrants” to help the nation recover.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group

Republicans were already at a massive disadvantage when it came to the 2016 Senate map — defending more than double the number of seats of the Democrats had. To compound matters, many of those endangered Republicans were sitting in swing state territory in a presidential year where the electorate already leans more liberal.

Donald Trump's once-sagging poll numbers rebounded nationally after cratering post-convention. He's doing better now in battlegrounds where he needs to win the White House — and where Republicans are defending their toughest Senate seats — but overall still narrowly lags Hillary Clinton.

Some Republican seats once thought to be sure-wins for Democrats, such as Ohio and Florida, are moving off the table. But now, seats in typically safe GOP turf, such as Indiana and Missouri, are at real risk of flipping. It's a much different path to the majority than either party had expected.

Andrew Harnik/AP

Former President Bill Clinton will take his wife's place at several campaign events in the next couple of days. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has been recovering from pneumonia at home after abruptly leaving a 9/11 commemoration ceremony in New York on Sunday, where her campaign said she became overheated and dehydrated.

Hillary Clinton was due to appear at fundraisers in California on Tuesday and make an appearance for a campaign event near Las Vegas, Nev., on Wednesday, where her husband will now go instead.

Clinton did tweet a message while home in Chappaqua, N.Y., expressing her desire to return to campaigning quickly.

Hillary Clinton will release more information about her medical condition in the next couple of days, her campaign says. Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said the release is being done "to further put to rest any lingering concerns" about the Democratic nominee's health.

J. Tyler Franklin

Along with elections for president, U.S. Senate and Congress, Kentucky voters will decide in November the political control of the state House of Representatives, the last legislative chamber in the South controlled by Democrats.

Kentuckians have put more and more Republicans into office over the past few decades. Last year’s election brought a new crop of Republican constitutional officers to state government, including Gov. Matt Bevin, only the second Republican to hold the office in four decades.

The state also hasn’t voted for a Democratic president since 1996 or U.S. Senator since 1992.

But many Democrats have still had success on a local level. After four open House seats triggered special elections in March, Democrats stunned Republicans by winning three of the four seats.

Still, Democrats’ 95-year control of the state House is at a low watermark of 53 seats, while Republicans have 47.

Andrew Harnik/AP

At a candidate forum Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump explained their policies on ground troops, fighting ISIS and other issues related to the military. We’ve recapped five key moments here and more deeply examined two claims, one from each candidate, below.

The claims: Clinton vowed to refrain from putting troops on the ground in Iraq, while Trump claimed that a court system to prosecute sexual assault in the military “practically doesn’t exist.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wants to halt the sale of $1 billion in U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The Bowling Green Republican said he planned to introduce what’s known as a privileged resolution Wednesday that would block the sale. Paul says the move guarantees the Senate will have to vote on the matter before going on a break in the next few weeks.

Paul cited two reasons why the U.S. shouldn’t ship the arms to the Saudis.

“One, I think they're an uncertain ally. Two, I think they have an abysmal human rights record. They treat women as second-class citizens there. Women who are raped are often then victimized by the state by imprisonment and whipping.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race continues its sleepy pace past Labor Day as Democratic candidate Jim Gray fights to be competitive and the incumbent lays low, enjoying a Republican surge in the state.

Gray and Republican incumbent Rand Paul have — mostly through their spokespeople — squared off on issues such as revitalizing the coal industry, gun control and finding solutions to the opioid epidemic. But interest in the race has paled in comparison to the 2014 barnburner between Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and Kentucky’s Democratic Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Steve Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky, said that’s partly due to there being so many competitive Senate races across the country.

“Both the Democrats themselves and the affiliated interest groups who often throw money into a Senate race have a really wide board on which to play the game this election,” Voss said.

Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Donald Trump has long insisted he's uniquely qualified to fix a political system corrupted by campaign contributions because he knows that system inside and out.

"I give to everybody," Trump said in a Fox News debate last summer. "When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later? I call them. They are there for me."

Those words are hanging over Trump this week as he fields questions about a three-year-old campaign contribution he made to a fundraising committee for Florida's attorney general Pam Bondi. That contribution has drawn scrutiny in part because the $25,000 came from Trump's non-profit charitable foundation — in violation of IRS rules — and because the foundation failed to properly report the gift on its tax return. The foundation incorrectly reported that the money went to an unrelated charity in Kansas with a similar name.

"There's a problem first of all with a charity giving a political contribution and then it looks like there's a problem with giving false information to the IRS," said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal watchdog group.

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