2016 Elections

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Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh is launching a bid to again represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate.

Bayh announced Wednesday that he would seek to make the political comeback. Two days earlier, former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill cleared the way by withdrawing as the Democratic nominee.

Bayh complained of the partisanship and gridlock when he left the Senate in 2010, but says he “can no longer sit on the sidelines.”

Bayh ‘s return boosts the chances of Democrats to win the seat held by Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who is retiring.

National Democrats pushed for Bayh to enter the race, seeing him as having a better chance to defeat GOP candidate U.S. Rep. Todd Young as Democrats seek to gain the four or five seats they need to win Senate control.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Donald Trump picked a military town — Virginia Beach, Va. — to give a speech Monday on how he would go about overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

Trump outlined 10 ways he would change the department. In addition to creating a direct hotline to the White House for veterans having trouble with the VA — and promising not to select "a political hack" as head of the agency — he listed several ideas that have been pushed by Republicans recently: increasing the secretary's ability to quickly fire any incompetent or corrupt staff, stopping bonuses for poor performance, and — the big one — allowing veterans to choose a doctor outside the VA system.

Is Trump proposing privatization of the VA?

Wilfredo Lee/AP

The lingering chasm between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her chief primary rival was bridged Tuesday, with Sen. Bernie Sanders teaming up with Clinton at a campaign event, where he formally endorsed Clinton's bid for the White House.

"Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that," Sanders said. "She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.

"I have come here today not to talk about the past but to focus on the future. That future will be shaped more by what happens on Nov. 8 in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world. I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president."

The Sanders endorsement ends a lengthy — and awkward — period in which many were wondering if and how he would back Clinton. Five weeks ago, Clinton, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, became the first woman in American history to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination to head the ticket of a major party.

J. Tyler Franklin

Donald Trump will be back in Kentucky Monday for a private fundraiser hosted by a well-known coal magnate and a GOP moneymaker in Lexington.

According to the Associated Press, it will cost individuals $1,000 to attend a reception and $5,000 to get a photo taken with the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

The fundraiser comes as Trump is trying to quell GOP fears that he’ll be outmatched by the well-financed campaign of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump only started holding fundraisers in late May and has put up uninspiring fundraising numbers for most of his presidential campaign.

But in June, according to his campaign, Trump raised $51 million — more than all previous months combined. Clinton raised $68.5 million in June.

Jim Gray Says He Raised $1.1 Million in Second Quarter

Jul 7, 2016
Office of Lexington Mayor

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says he has raised nearly $1.1 million for his U.S. Senate campaign in the second quarter.

The Lexington mayor said in a news release his campaign raised $1,083,039 for the fundraising period ending June 30. The campaign did not say how much money it spent during that time. A spokeswoman for Gray declined to say how much money the campaign has available to spend.

Gray reported $1.8 million in his first fundraising report earlier this year, but $1 million of that was his own money. Gray said he did not contribute to his campaign in the second quarter.

Gray is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Paul, who unsuccessfully ran for president, has not released his fundraising totals yet. The deadline to file fundraising reports is July 15.

NPR

The battle to control the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — and the fate of the party — has reached a turning point.

While the “Stop Trump” movement has unleashed a barrage of cross-country phone calls and emails to seek support for its proposals, a group of longtime Republican rule-makers, some working with the Donald Trump campaign, has quickly coalesced to try to block them.

Those Republican rule-makers are also going on offense by proposing what would be relatively historic changes to take some power away from convention delegates this year and close more primaries to non-Republicans the next time around.

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."

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