2016 Elections

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Donald Trump declared "the shackles have been taken off me" Tuesday morning on Twitter.

That has been apparent since Sunday night, when he held a briefing before his second debate with Hillary Clinton alongside women who say they were sexually assaulted by former President Bill Clinton. He then proceeded to seat those women in the audience at the debate and confront Hillary Clinton with their allegations on stage.

This is Trump's response to the leaked videotape showing him using vulgar language to describe women and their bodies, and even bragging about groping and kissing them without consent.

Trump has apologized, but on the campaign trail he doesn't sound humbled.

Want to Vote in November? Get Registered Tuesday

Oct 11, 2016
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If you want to vote in November's election, the deadline to register is here.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is holding an event in Louisville with the League of Women Voters on Tuesday to mark the voter registration deadline. Grimes and other elected officials will be at the league's headquarters, where Grimes announced a year ago that Kentucky would allow voters to register online.

Grimes said in a statement that since the online registration portal opened, almost 90,000 people have registered to vote.

Kentuckians can use GoVoteKY.com to register or update their registration. People must be registered by Tuesday to vote in the general election on Nov. 8.

Matt Rourke/AP

After a weekend where Indiana Gov. Mike Pence strongly rebuked running mate Donald Trump and refused to campaign for him — and after a debate where Trump undercut a Pence policy proposal on Syria — Pence made the cable news rounds Monday morning to praise Trump.

The appearances dispelled rumors that Pence was "holding his options open," as the Indianapolis Star put it, after more than two dozen Republican officeholders urged Trump to withdraw from the presidential race.

"It's absolutely false to suggest that at any point we considered dropping off this ticket," Pence told CNN. "It's the greatest honor of my life to be nominated by my party to be the next vice president of the United States of America."

Pence told the network that he was "offended" and "couldn't defend" the leaked 2005 video of Trump recounting groping women. "I think last night he showed his heart to the American people. He said he apologized to his family, apologized to the American people, that he was embarrassed by it, and then he moved on," said Pence. "He said that's not something that he's done."

Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan will no longer defend his party's embattled presidential nominee Donald Trump and will instead focus on protecting the GOP's congressional majority in the final month of the campaign.

Ryan told Republican members of his decision in a conference call Monday morning, according to someone on the call. The move comes after a wild weekend in the race for the White House that saw many lawmakers rescind their endorsements of Trump and call for him to leave the race after a 2005 video surfaced of Trump making lewd comments about women and bragging about groping and kissing them without consent.

The speaker told his members "you all need to do what's best for you in your district" and that he will not defend Trump or campaign with him over the next 29 days until Election Day on Nov. 8. Ryan had been planning to campaign with Trump on Saturday, the day after the video surfaced, but that appearance was quickly scrapped.

Ryland Barton

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has launched a panel to investigate “troubling allegations” that Gov. Matt Bevin tried to threaten legislators into switching political parties late last year.

Stumbo focused on allegations from Nicholasville Democratic Rep. Russ Meyer, who claims that Bevin paused a major road project in his district as retribution for not switching parties. Stumbo called the actions “potentially illegal” and said that the committee would have the power to subpoena witnesses.

“We’re not asking them to find anything except the truth,” Stumbo said of the five-member committee made up of three Democratic and two Republican legislators. “We’re asking them to review the facts, we’re asking them to look at the documents. We’re asking them to ask the tough questions as to why.”

In March, the Transportation Cabinet delayed an $11.2 million contract for a road project in Jessamine County, which includes Meyer’s district. Because of the delay in the project, the state was required to pay a contractor $625,000 in damages.

Steve Helber/AP

Little has gone as expected in this extraordinary presidential cycle, so we should have known Tuesday’s vice presidential debate would have a twist or two in it, too.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence each represented three clients in their 90 minute debate from Farmville, Va. The two former attorneys pled the case for their respective principals (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump), to be sure, but also for their respective parties and for themselves.

It may be said that both succeeded in all three pursuits, with perhaps the clearest success on behalf of their own cases. One of the two will soon be vice president, placing him the proverbial heartbeat away. The other will automatically enter the conversation the next time his party needs a presidential nominee.

It is not entirely clear which of these prospects might be the most desirable at this moment in history.

In this regard, Pence, whose job of defending Trump on Tuesday night was both complex and thankless, may have benefited most. He was unable to defend much of what Trump has done or said, but he was earnest and artful in turning the multiple challenges aside.

Kentucky News Network

A Kentucky Republican, shunned even by his own party for posting images on Facebook depicting President Barack Obama as a monkey, held a defiant press conference during which he declined to apologize or suspend his campaign for the statehouse.

Dan Johnson, a Bullitt County preacher running for a seat in the state House of Representatives, maintained on Tuesday that the images were not racist.

Johnson is running against incumbent Democrat Linda Belcher in the state's 49th district, which includes part of Bullitt County just south of Louisville.

The Republican Party of  Kentucky had asked him to drop out of the race, saying his posts "represent the rankest sort of prejudice present in our society."

Johnson said black pastors and black legislators have voiced their support for his candidacy, though he refused to name them.

Paul (photo provided) Gray (Jim Gray for US Senate)

The League of Women Voters has canceled its debate between incumbent Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and his Democratic challenger, Lexington mayor Jim Gray, after Paul declined the invitation.

Paul’s campaign on Tuesday announced the two men would participate in a debate on Halloween night to be televised on KET.

“Dr. Paul has taken his message directly to the people in over 110 town halls across Kentucky, so he is happy to accept KET’s debate invitation and continue his efforts to present voters with a clear picture of a senator who believes in less spending, less taxes, and less debt,” said Paul spokeswoman, Kelsey Cooper.

L: Ralph Freso R: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The vice presidential nominees, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will meet on the debate stage Tuesday.

It’ll be two traditional politicians facing off in a non-traditional election year: Kaine as the safe and even boring choice by Hillary Clinton and Pence as the calm, unflappable balance to Donald Trump’s bombast.

When it comes to the issues, Kaine and Clinton mostly agree. Among other things, they want to raise taxes on the wealthy, expand gun control legislation, and they both support President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.

Pence and Trump, while wildly different in campaign style, agree that immigrants who enter the country illegally should not be granted amnesty, that abortions should be restricted, and that cutting taxes is the way to a healthier economy.

LRC Public Information

A national group of Republican state leaders has paid for a TV ad criticizing Kentucky Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

The Republican State Leadership Committee is backing the commercial with a $50,000 ad buy. It will air on eastern Kentucky's broadcast TV stations for the next week. It criticizes Stumbo for his support of Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and their energy policies that affect the state's coal industry.

The Republican Party of Kentucky has already targeted Stumbo with a similar radio ad. Stumbo called those claims "outrageous lies."

The Kentucky House is the last legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats. Republicans need to pick up four seats on Nov. 8 to win a majority for the first time since 1920.

Kathy Willens/AP

Donald Trump's campaign is responding to a New York Times report that the real estate mogul claimed hundreds of millions of dollars in losses on tax returns in 1995 — an amount that could have allowed him to legally avoid paying income taxes for many years.

The 1995 tax records obtained by the newspaper show Trump as having reported a $916 million loss on personal income tax returns during that year.

Times reporter Susanne Craig, who's written about the Republican candidate's business ventures, received three pages of returns via mail from an anonymous source: "The first page of a New York State resident income tax return, the first page of a New Jersey nonresident tax return and the first page of a Connecticut nonresident tax return."

The Times hired tax law experts to analyze the documents, which the outlet notes, are "a small fraction of the voluminous tax returns Mr. Trump would have filed in 1995."

Those consultants determined that "tax rules especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Mr. Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period."

The Republican Party of Kentucky has asked a state House candidate to drop out of the race after he posted several photos on Facebook depicting President Barack Obama and the first lady as monkeys.

Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Mac Brown and House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover both signed the letter. It says while Dan Johnson has a First Amendment right to free speech, elected leaders "must hold ourselves and those with whom we serve to a higher standard."

Johnson did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Johnson said Friday the posts were satire and that he would not drop out of the race.

Republicans need to pick up four seats in November to win a majority in the Kentucky House of Representatives for the first time since 1920.

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.

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