2016 Elections

U.S. Energy Information Administration

At this week’s Democratic National Convention, two presidents ran blocks for Hillary Clinton on an issue that has crippled her favorability in Appalachia: coal.

Both President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton brought up coal in their speeches endorsing Hillary’s presidential bid.

During his address on Tuesday evening, Bill Clinton recalled how Hillary had sent him to stump for her in West Virginia ahead of the state’s primary election to deliver a message directly to coal miners.

“If you really think you can get the economy back you had 50 years ago, have at it, vote for whoever you want to,” Bill Clinton said. “But if she wins, she is coming back for you to take you along on the ride to America’s future.”

Then on Wednesday night, President Obama said coal miners need to be brought into the discussion about climate change.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton accepted her party's nomination on Thursday, completing the field for an American political campaign without historical precedent.

Clinton, the first female presidential nominee for a major American party, has now officially become Republican Donald Trump's Democratic rival for the presidency of the United States.

"It is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America's promise that I accept your nomination for president of the United States," Clinton said.

Clinton's nomination comes after a bruising primary campaign against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that left the Democratic Party struggling to unite.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The third night of the 2016 Democratic Convention scaled several major peaks: President Obama gave, perhaps, the best-written oration of his career. Vice President Joe Biden gave, perhaps, his last national convention address, and his prospective successor, Tim Kaine, gave his first.

But when it was all over, and Obama was joined on stage by the woman who wants to succeed him, you could feel the love welling up from the delegates and you could sense the doubt hanging over them — an invisible cloud casting a psychological shadow.

Yes, the crowd had been wowed by Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren and the "Comeback Kid" himself, Bill Clinton.

But would Hillary Clinton herself be able to seal the deal on the last night?

Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Democratic Party officials are still trying to unify support behind presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as supporters of former candidate Bernie Standers continue to protest her nomination.

The two candidates nearly split Kentucky’s share of 55 pledged delegates — Sanders took 27 and Clinton took 28. Clinton won all five of Kentucky’s unpledged “super” delegates.

Greg Aster, an aircraft mechanic and Bernie Sanders delegate from Louisville, said the senator’s speech Monday night helped him move on.

“I thought they all did a great job in trying to just show that hey, it’s not our differences that we need to be divided over, it’s our differences with a Trump presidency that we really need to be concerned about,” Aster said.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Tuesday night session of the Democratic convention was really three events, each with its own atmosphere and impact, but all contributing to a single theme: The Clintons are back.

The first event was the most consequential. Two names were placed in nomination, those of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The traditional roll call ensued, with each delegation proudly proclaiming the singular virtues of its home state — and eventually reporting the tally of delegate votes for each contender.

By the time the roll had passed South Dakota, Clinton had surpassed the 2,383 votes needed to win. This should have surprised no one who has kept any sort of tabs on the primaries and caucuses, which long ago showed she would have more than enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot.

This had been the way to bet since Clinton won the Ohio primary resoundingly on March 15. But Sanders' camp had held out hope that their winning streak in April would sow doubts, and insisted a big upset in California in June would change everything.

Even after Clinton had won California handily, some Sanders fans still hoped her high negatives in polling, her adverse media narratives and the heavy bombardment she got from Republicans would give Democratic delegates pause. They hoped even this past weekend's release of emails from the Democratic National Committee would finally torpedo her candidacy.

Gray Calls For Roads, Technology To Help Coal Regions

Jul 27, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says he would spend more money on technology and improve roads in eastern Kentucky to help the region recover from the devastating effects of a declining coal industry.

Gray revealed his plan on Tuesday along with other state Democratic leaders.

Gray said his plan would increase funding for the federal Office of Fossil Energy’s carbon capture storage technology research and would work to widen the Hal Rogers parkway to four lanes from Hazard to Somerset.

Republicans have criticized Gray and other Democrats as being anti-coal after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said she would put coal miners and coal companies out of business.

Gray told reporters he still supports Clinton but said she he was wrong about coal. Clinton has since said she was mistaken in her remarks.

Alix Mattingly

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has portrayed Donald Trump as "an unsteady, unqualified bully" while offering insights about Hillary Clinton's personal side in a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Grimes on Tuesday recounted her long friendship with Clinton, and stressed Clinton's support for equal pay for women, voting rights, affordable health care and pensions for retired coal miners.

Grimes described Clinton as a family-oriented grandmother who enjoys watching HGTV and eating buffalo wings. She recalled how Clinton checked up on her while she was in law school and was the first to call her after her grandmothers died.

She portrayed Trump as "an unsteady, unqualified bully who points fingers rather than offering a hand to those who are defenseless."

Grimes lost to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell in a high-profile race in 2014.

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In another effort to tamp down on discord at the Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders will officially nominate his former rival Hillary Clinton for president during this evening's roll call vote.

It would be another move toward unity from the primary runner-up, coming amid continued protests from supporters of the Vermont senator still upset that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee.

The Sanders and Clinton camps are still in talks about the nomination, CNN reports, so details could still change.

Clinton won the most primary popular votes and pledged delegates, and she is poised to officially become the first female nominee of a major political party after Tuesday's roll call vote.

But even an endorsement from Sanders and a speech in favor of Clinton last night hasn't done much to placate the progressive favorite's most fervent supporters. In the final speech the official convention opening Monday night Sanders urged his very vocal, very unhappy supporters who were still calling for a "political revolution" to get behind Clinton to defeat GOP nominee Donald Trump in November.

Gray, Paul to Campaign in Kentucky Coal Country on Tuesday

Jul 26, 2016
Paul (photo provided) Gray (Jim Gray for US Senate)

Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates are campaigning in eastern Kentucky as the race picks up steam heading into the annual Fancy Farm picnic.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray is scheduled to unveil his plan to help Kentucky's economically distressed coal communities on Tuesday. The Lexington mayor is scheduled to join other state lawmakers including House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones in Pikeville to discuss his plan.

Republicans have criticized Gray and other Democrats as being anti-coal after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said her policies would put coal miners and coal companies out of business. Clinton later said she was mistaken in her remarks.

Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will hold four town-hall style events on Tuesday in Corbin, Pineville, Harlan and Whitesburg.

Trump Picks Up Fundraising Momentum In Kentucky

Jul 25, 2016
Thinkstock

For the first time this election season, Kentuckians gave more in a single month to Republican nominee for president Donald Trump than to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The GOP candidate raised $75,387 in June from individual Kentucky donors, according to new data from the Federal Election Commission. The former U.S. secretary of state raised $73,153 during the same time period.

The June haul represents a major shift for Trump, whose meager Kentucky fundraising had trailed behind all other major Republican candidates, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. In each of the first four months of the year, Trump never raised more than $9,000.

But in June Trump more than doubled his total pull from the commonwealth. He has raised a total of $130,049 since March 2015 in the state, while Clinton has garnered $783,046.

WFPL News

Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has raised more than $1.2 million in the fundraising quarter that ended June 30.

The haul is in addition to the more than $97,000 Paul raised in the one-month period leading up to the May primary, giving the first-term Senator more than $2.2 million in cash available to spend from his campaign account.

Records show Paul's Democratic challenger Jim Gray has just over $1 million in cash available to spend.

Rand Paul Victory Kentucky, a joint fundraising organization between Paul and the Republican Party of Kentucky, has just over $10,000 in cash available to spend.

Paul spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper said the campaign is "extremely pleased" with its fundraising efforts and confident Paul will have the resources necessary to spread his message to voters.

Abbey Oldham, PBS Newshour

Kentucky’s Secretary of State says Americans can expect a big contrast between this week’s Democratic National Convention and last week’s Republican gathering in Cleveland.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is speaking at her party’s convention in Philadelphia. She told WKU Public Radio Democrats will offer a more positive view of the U.S. than the one described by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“You’re going to see people from all across this nation, and importantly, our nominee, that believe America is already great. And we need a President that recognizes that, and will build upon that—unite people, not dividing them with hateful rhetoric.”

Grimes called Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a role model and friend for more than 24 years. The Clinton family is close with Grimes and her family, including Jerry Lundergan, Grimes' father and former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Grimes' mother, Charlotte Lundergan, is a superdelegate pledged to support Clinton.

Meg Kelly/NPR

If there was ever a time to show party unity, this would be it. This week's Democratic Convention is supposed to be about showing a party standing behind its presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton — and it was headed in that direction by featuring a speech from Bernie Sanders on opening night Monday.

But it puts a damper on that whole unity feeling now that party Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will resign after the convention — not to mention that her reason for stepping down is that leaked emails showed DNC staffers favoring Clinton during the primaries, and even discussing ways to help her defeat Sanders.

The controversy is an unpleasant distraction for a party launching into a four-day sales pitch to voters (and a response to last week's Republican convention). Just two weeks ago, after Sanders endorsed Clinton, Democrats seemed to be coming together after a bitter, divisive primary season.

But then, Clinton chose Tim Kaine as her running mate — many Sanders supporters and other progressives feel he is too moderate to advance their interests.

Now, yet another email scandal has added to Democrats' woes. And it has handed the GOP more ammunition to use after their own convention, which featured a plagiarism scandal and a high-profile snub from Ted Cruz. On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to gloat over the Democrats' new problems.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton will break the penultimate glass ceiling this week — becoming the first female nominee of a major American political party.

It's a historic milestone that's been obscured by Donald Trump's chaotic convention and, now, on the eve of the Democratic convention, the resignation of the DNC chairman following the leak of 20,000 emails showing that the DNC had its thumb on the scale for Clinton. The Clinton campaign blames the leak on the Russians, who they say are trying to put their thumb on the scales for Trump.

Whew!

Here are 5 things to watch in Philadelphia this week:

How unified will the Democrats be?

The Wikileaks email dump threatened to upend the careful truce worked out between the Sanders camp and Clinton campaign. But it has led to a huge victory for Sanders. He got Debbie Wasserman Schultz's head on a platter. Sanders has had a terrible relationship with Schultz. He even endorsed her primary opponent. Did Schultz's resignation satisfy the Sanders forces? Or will they have a demonstration or a walkout on the floor of the convention, presenting an image of a party almost as divided as the GOP? The answer may come Monday night when Sanders addresses the convention. Will he wholeheartedly and enthusiastically back Clinton? If he does, that will go a long way to unifying the party.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is Hillary Clinton's choice for her vice president, giving her a running mate with experience at all levels of government to round out the Democratic ticket.

Clinton told supporters the news in a text message and a tweet on Friday evening just after 8 p.m. ET. According to a Clinton campaign official, the former secretary of state called Kaine this evening to make the formal offer.

In recent days, Kaine had emerged as the favorite — albeit safe — pick for Clinton, over other finalists such as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

According to the Clinton campaign official, their vetting process first began back in April with more than two dozen potential running mates. Kaine and Clinton campaigned last week in Northern Virginia as a tryout of sorts, and Clinton walked away impressed and comfortable with him as a partner. The two met with aides and then one-on-one for a total of about 90 minutes that night.

Last Saturday, the Kaine and Clinton met together with their families for lunch at the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, N.Y. She remained comfortable with Kaine as someone who could do the job, and the alliance was made.

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