2016 Elections

WKU PBS

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell weighed in on the 2016 presidential race at a luncheon in downtown Lexington Thursday. 

The Senate Majority Leader warned against the crowded field of Republican candidates getting too contentious. There are fourteen politicians jockeying to secure the Republican nomination for president next year.

McConnell warned against the race becoming unnecessarily brutal.

“You saw in the Kentucky governor’s primary if you get into a fight with somebody else in a multi-field candidate you could end up taking yourself down and whoever you’re feuding with down and somebody else benefits from it.”   

Former Republican candidates for governor Hal Heiner and James Comer launched attacks at one another, and on Election Day got bested by Matt Bevin, who stayed out of the fight for the most part. McConnell never made an official endorsement in the primary. It was widely speculated he and Bevin didn’t get along-- Bevin never endorsed McConnell after getting beaten by him in last year’s U.S. Senate race.

Ashley Lopez, WFPL

An analysis of fundraising data from the beginning weeks of Rand Paul’s presidential campaign shows he has strong support from donors in small towns.

The New York Times reports the Bowling Green Republican took in $1 million online in less than 30 hours after formerly launching his campaign April 7.

A quarter of the more than 15,000 donors who gave to Paul list addresses in communities that have populations under 10,000 people.

The 2010 Census shows only 15 percent of Americans live in communities of that size.

The average donation made at Paul’s website was around $60  during the first weeks of his campaign, meaning Paul will be able to ask many of those same donors for additional gifts during the primary season.

Another takeaway from the analysis is the overlap of donors who have given to both Rand Paul’s campaign and the 2012 White House bid by his father, then-Texas Congressman Ron Paul. At least 2,000 of the donors to Rand Paul last month also gave to his father’s campaign, although the Times says that number is likely higher because many small donors don’t appear on federal filings.

Ashley Lopez, WFPL

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul’s efforts to appeal to minority voters hit a rough patch over the past week.

The junior senator from Kentucky made some off-hand comments during the peak of unrest in the city of Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray—a black man who died in police custody. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby recently said there is probable cause to file criminal homicide charges against six police officers following Gray’s death.

Paul told a conservative talk show host Tuesday he was glad his train didn’t make a stop in Baltimore during the riots and protests there.

There was almost immediate backlash, mostly from minority groups.

But later in the week, Paul said there was nothing to apologize for.

“My comments I think were misinterpreted in some ways,” he told reporters during a small event in Buckner on Friday.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a newly declared Republican presidential candidate, is dodging a central question about abortion: What exceptions, if any, should be made if the procedure were to be banned?

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Paul would not say where, in his view, a pregnant woman's rights begin and those of the fetus end.

"The thing is about abortion — and about a lot of things — is that I think people get tied up in all these details of, sort of, you're this or this or that, or you're hard and fast (on) one thing or the other," Paul said.

In the past, Paul has supported legislation that would ban abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother's life. At other times, he has backed bills seeking a broader abortion ban without those exceptions.

Campaigning in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Paul told the AP that people get too tied up in these details and it's his conviction that "life is special and deserves protection."

Paul entered the GOP race Tuesday and is this week campaigning in the first four states to vote in the nomination contest.

Exceptions in any abortion ban are a politically sensitive topic for Paul and some of his rivals. They want to nudge the party away from a focus on such social issues, but know that winning the nomination requires some backing from religious conservatives who press for strict, if not absolute limits on abortion.

In Iowa, where Paul will campaign Friday, Rev. Terry Amann of Walnut Creek Community Church near Des Moines said he saw no place for equivocation on the issue.

Welcome to the 2016 presidential campaign. Republican Rand Paul officially entered the race Tuesday, and was greeted with a TV ad calling him "wrong and dangerous" on Iran. The money behind the ad is secret.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced his bid for the White House Tuesday on his website. The 52-year-old former ophthalmologist's libertarian roots sets him apart from the expansive field of Republican hopefuls, most notably in foreign policy and issues like defense spending.

His father Ron Paul, also a physician, gained notoriety in the late-1980s as a presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, but there are signs the younger Paul is moving more mainstream Republican.

Sen. Rand Paul is poised to launch a presidential bid in Louisville Tuesday morning.

Political experts say the campaign of Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator  will likely be very different than any other hopeful for the Republican nomination in 2016. The main difference: Paul has set his sights on liberal voters.

For the past several months, Paul has been touring the country holding town hall-style meetings, mostly in inner cities.

The Kentucky Republican Party appears ready to change the way it nominates presidential candidates—something that would help Senator Rand Paul run for the White House and Senate in 2016.

The executive committee of the state party gave preliminary approval Saturday to Paul’s request to hold a presidential caucus next year, instead of a primary election.

A formal decision on the move will come in August.

State law prohibits a candidate from appearing for more than one office on the same ballot.

By going to a caucus system, Kentucky Republicans are making it possible for Paul to seek Senate re-election and the presidency at the same time.

A county GOP leader told WKU Public Radio that executive committee members were told not to speak to reporters about the decision.

But he confirmed the vote to move to a caucus next year was unanimous.

WKU PBS

U.S. Senator Rand Paul will be in Bowling Green this weekend, asking fellow Republicans to change the way they nominate presidential candidates.

The Republican Party of Kentucky’s executive committee is meeting Saturday afternoon in Warren County, and Paul is hoping they will endorse his plan to replace the state’s presidential primary with a caucus.

In a primary, the winner is determined by counting ballots. A caucus counts the number of supporters who appear at meetings across the state on a specified day.

Paul wants the state GOP to move to a caucus so that he could run for both President and another U.S. Senate term at the same time. Current Kentucky law prohibits a candidate from appearing on the same ballot for multiple offices.

The Associated Press reports Paul believes a caucus would also offer military personnel greater opportunities to participate.

Kentucky is home to two military bases and absentee voters have posed problems for other caucuses around the country. A spokesman for Paul noted a caucus gives organizers more options to accommodate military voters.

Office of Ky Governor

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says the national Democratic Party is paying the price for not putting enough resources into winning Congressional and state legislative races.

Beshear made the comments over the weekend during the release of draft recommendations made by a task force charged with helping the party prepare for the 2016 election cycle.

Beshear is one of the 11 members of the task force, and says the Democratic National Committee needs to implement a “National Narrative Project” that will gather input from party leaders and members to create a “strong values-based national narrative that will engage, inspire, and motivate voters to identify with and support Democrats.”

Beshear also called upon the party to rebuild “its bench” by recruiting stronger candidates for state legislative seats over the next three election cycles, something he said would help Democrats influence the redrawing of Congressional districts after the next Census is completed.

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