Alison Lundergan Grimes

Lisa Autry

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell sat down with some of Kentucky’s religious leaders Thursday to talk issues of faith ahead of the November election. 

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, asked McConnell about the current persecution of Christians in the Middle East. McConnell said he thinks the militant violence is related to the troop withdrawal from Iraq, which he blamed on President Obama.

"This is the inevitable consequence of no residual presence," claimed McConnell. "I don't want that confused with thinking I want another Iraq war, but I don't think this would have happened in the first place if we had not taken the opportunity to give these characters a chance to assert themselves again."

The forum, held at Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green, also touched on the issues of abortion, gay marriage, and immigration.

Two new polls offer the latest numbers on Kentucky's senate race and next year's race for the Governor's mansion.

Public Policy Polling found Kentucky incumbent senator Mitch McConnell at 44%, with 40% for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and 7% for Libertarian David Patterson. The poll also showed that McConnell has a high negative image as well. Among the undecided voters, McConnell has just a 10% approval rating to 66% of voters who disapprove of him.

Looking ahead to next year's race for Governor, Public Policy Polling finds a wide open race.

Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has joined the list of confirmed speakers at Owensboro’s Red, White & Blue Picnic later this month.  Grimes’ November opponent, Senator Mitch McConnell already committed to the August 26th event.

The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce sponsors the picnic which begins at 5 p.m. on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse.

Libertarian Set To Appear On U.S. Senate Ballot

Aug 12, 2014

A Harrodsburg police officer will be on the ballot for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.

David Patterson filed with the Secretary of State's office on Monday as a Libertarian. He needed at least 5,000 valid signatures to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. A spokeswoman said Patterson had at least 5,000 signatures but the office was still verifying the total number.

Patterson will be an underdog against Republican Sen.  Mitch McConnell and Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who have raised millions of dollars in one of the country's most competitive races. Kentucky's Libertarian Party has just over 4,000 registered voters, according to the Secretary of State's Office.

Mike Maggard, Robert Edward Ransdell and Shawna Sterling have filed as write-in candidates. Their names will not appear on the ballot.

Abbey Oldham

A trade group representing Kentucky's coal industry is defended Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell after a published report that his wife is a board member of an organization that has spent $50 million to close coal-fired power plants.

Yahoo! News reported Friday that Elaine Chao sits on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies. Former New York Mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg founded the charity.

The Kentucky Coal Association says Bloomberg's contribution was made before Chao joined the board in April 2012.

The eastern Kentucky coalfields have lost 7,000 coal-related jobs since January 2012. That's an issue at the center of McConnell's re-election bid against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The Kentucky Coal Association says McConnell has done everything possible to protect the coal industry.

Some of Kentucky’s evangelical leaders are calling on U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to take part in three forums ahead of the November election. 

The forums would include topics like marriage, sanctity of life, and religious liberty.  Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, says religious leaders would like the race to focus more on social issues.

"The race has been focused so far on the economy and jobs, so we're hoping to broaden the discussion beyond what's currently coming out of the campaigns," Chitwood told WKU Public Radio.  "When you talk about people of faith who claim a religious affiliation with a church, that's over half of the citizens of the commonwealth, so I think the candidates have the opportunity to really get their message out if they accept the invitation."

The forums would all be held this month in Bowling Green, Louisville, and Somerset.  Chitwood says Senator McConnell has accepted the invitation and Grimes’ campaign is reviewing the proposal.

McConnell Courts Coal Country Votes

Aug 7, 2014

Sen. Mitch McConnell is campaigning for re-election in Kentucky's coal country, blaming the loss of thousands of industry jobs on President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency and saying his Democratic rival would be a vote to continue them in Congress.

The Republican incumbent is in a close race with Alison Lundergan Grimes. He rarely, if ever, mentioned her by name Thursday as he set out on a two-day bus tour. But he blasted Obama as well as former President Bill Clinton, who campaigned in Kentucky for the Democratic challenger on Wednesday.

Hoping to discredit the former president, McConnell told each of his audiences that Obama had renamed the building that houses the EPA in Washington for Clinton.
Grimes has said repeatedly she disagrees with Obama's approach on coal issues.

Grimes Says She Proudly Wears 'Clinton Democrat' Label

Aug 6, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes is using a little star power on the campaign trail.  Former President Bill Clinton Wednesday made two stops in Kentucky with the Senate hopeful.

Immediately after taking the stage at the Carrick House in Lexington, Grimes made it clear to the large, enthusiastic crowd that she rejects any labels her opponent Senator Mitch McConnell has tried to give her. Grimes said there is a brand she will be gladly accept.

"One label, though that I will proudly wear is that of a Clinton Democrat. I am a Clinton Democrat," proclaimed Grimes.

Emil Moffatt

The first weekend in August in western Kentucky means only one thing: Fancy Farm. The small town suddenly transforms into the epicenter of the Kentucky political universe.

And to keep a tradition going for 134 years, it takes some pretty committed volunteers.

“Each family in the church has a responsibility and this family has taken care of the hamburgers and hot dogs for decades,” said Will Hayden, who was working the grill Saturday morning.

Hayden and Brad Page of Fancy Farm spoke to us as they were cooling down after a long morning and afternoon tending to a hot grill. Page says they normally start grilling between 7:00 and 7:30 in the morning. Fancy Farm has been a part of their lives as long as they can remember.

“Oh, I’m 45, so 42 [Fancy Farms] that I know of,” said Hayden.

Page also says he started volunteering as a child.

“It’s been handed down generation to generation.  I’ve got my kids, and his kids,”  said Page pointing to Hayden. “Hopefully they’ll get in there and get at it.”

The Fancy Farm Picnic’s political chair Mark Wilson says Democrats and Republicans offered positive feedback following a conference call to encourage a more civil atmosphere at this year's picnic.

Grimes Says Clinton Will Now Make Two Appearances With Her

Jul 29, 2014

Former President Bill Clinton will appear twice next week with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes' campaign already announced that Clinton would join her at a rally in eastern Kentucky but didn't announce where. Now, the campaign says he'll be at events in Lexington and Hazard on Wednesday.

Clinton, who twice carried Kentucky as a presidential candidate, appeared at a campaign event with Grimes in Louisville in February.

Grimes, who's trying to unseat senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, is the daughter of longtime Clinton friend Jerry Lundergan. She's in her first term as Kentucky's Secretary of State.

Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce

One of the candidates in the highly-contested Kentucky U.S. Senate race has agreed to take part in an event in Owensboro next month.  

Incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell confirmed he will appear at the Red, White & Blue Picnic on Aug. 26.  The event is sponsored by the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce. McConnell’s Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes has not said whether she’ll attend. 

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

With just over three months to go until Election Day, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has a slim, two percentage-point lead over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. 

The figure comes from a new Bluegrass Poll released Monday evening, showing the five-term Senator leading 47 percent to 45 percent.  The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.7 percentage points and was conducted between July 18th and 23rd. In previous polls, Grimes had a four-point lead over McConnell in February.  That lead shrank to one point in May.

The Bluegrass Poll is conducted for the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader as well as television stations WHAS and WKYT. 

Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture

This Saturday the 134th annual Fancy Farm political picnic will feature thousands of pounds of barbecue, and even spicier political rhetoric. In addition, the event’s chairman anticipates this year’s political gathering to be the largest ever.

Mark Wilson and his wife, Lori, have directed the political happenings at the Fancy Farm picnic for the past eight years. Mark anticipates this year’s crowd will be the largest since 1992, when Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Al Gore spoke at the event. 

“It’s a ballpark, 15 to 20,000. And that’s what we anticipate this year, the same type of crowd. 

A lifelong congregant of the stump speech mecca’s St. Jerome Catholic parish, where the event is held alongside raffles and bingo, Wilson says local and state officeholders, as well as both of Kentucky’s U.S. Senators, will be present at Fancy Farm.

He says he anticipates Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer to keep with a tried and true Fancy Farm tradition and announce his rumored gubernatorial candidacy. 

“There’s speculation that he’s going to announce his intentions to run for governor on the Republican side of the aisle, and we think there’s a very good possibility he will make that announcement on our political platform on Saturday.”

Wilson says the event will also feature its other signature offering: Several thousand pounds of barbeque mutton, chicken, and pork to aid the digestion of what could be the biggest Fancy Farm ever.

Georgia Republicans picked their Senate nominee Tuesday night. Former corporate CEO David Perdue will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the November general election.

Nunn, the daughter of a popular former senator, is among several Democratic female candidates who are showing strength as the party tries to preserve its Senate majority. She's also considered a real contender to turn the Georgia seat Democratic.