Alison Lundergan Grimes

While many on the left embraced the Environmental Protection Agency's new rules to reduce coal-burning power plant carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, some red state Democrats couldn't put enough distance between themselves and the Obama administration.

You would have had a tough time, for instance, distinguishing the reaction of Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes from that of the man she hopes to replace, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate's top Republican.

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

Both of Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidates are denouncing new federal guidelines related to greenhouse gas emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that power plants will have to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by the year 2030.

While Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes have exchanged harsh words about who is best to represent the commonwealth in Washington, they both believe the EPA’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants represent a federal overreach that will harm Kentucky’s economy.

Calling it a “national energy tax” imposed by the Obama Administration, Sen. McConnell said he will introduce legislation to block the new rules.

In a statement released to the media Monday by McConnell’s office, the Louisville Republican said the EPA regulations would lead to “higher costs, fewer jobs, and a less reliable energy grid.”

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

A group that advocates for greater government transparency is challenging Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidates to limit ads purchased by outside groups.

The Herald-Leader reports that Common Cause of Kentucky sent letters this week to the campaigns of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, asking them to sign a pledge aimed at limiting outside spending on the Senate race.

Under what the group calls the People’s Pledge, a candidate would agree to give to charity half of the cost of any ad bought by outside groups during the campaign. Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst told the paper that Grimes has previously called for both campaigns to sign the pledge.

The McConnell campaign had not commented on the request by Common Cause of Kentucky as of Wednesday afternoon.

Kentucky’s Senate race will be one of the most closely-watched races in the country, with some analysts predicting it will also be the most expensive Senate race in history.

Paul Urges Kentucky GOP To Rally Around McConnell

May 23, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul is calling for Republicans across Kentucky to support Sen. Mitch McConnell in his campaign against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
 
The first-term senator, considered a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said Friday that a vote for Grimes would be a vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his policy of advancing President Barack Obama's agenda.
 
McConnell says he has not spoken to Matt Bevin since defeating him in Tuesday's Republican primary. But he says he was not worried about losing Republican votes in the general election.

Grimes released an open letter to Bevin's supporters on Friday saying McConnell will lie about her in campaign ads just as he lied about Bevin. She urged them to get to know her and her true positions.

Abbey Oldham

Several right-wing groups that backed the Tea Party challenger against Senator Mitch McConnell have announced they will now support the Senate Minority Leader. The news represents the kind of unity that is important for McConnell as he takes on Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

With the primary now in the rearview mirror, both the McConnell and Grimes campaigns can now focus 100 percent of their attention on winning the November general election.

For McConnell, one of the top items on his campaign’s to-do list is repairing relationships with Tea Party and conservative groups that backed his primary opponent, Matt Bevin. Those efforts are already bearing fruit, as Politico reports the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Madison Project, and FreedomWorks have said they will support McConnell in his re-election effort.

Several of the groups took credit for moving McConnell to the right during his primary campaign.

Abbey Oldham

With Tuesday’s U.S. Senate primary now behind them, Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes can now invest 100 percent of their time, effort, and money into the November 4 general election.

Sen. McConnell beat Tea Party activist and Louisville businessman Matt Bevin in the GOP primary by about 25 points, and Grimes easily won her party’s contest.

While he ultimately lost, Bevin’s candidacy exposed divisions within the Kentucky Republican Party that Democrats hope will benefit them in the fall.

A great deal of attention is now going to be paid to efforts by the McConnell campaign and its supporters to heal any lingering wounds between so-called “establishment” Republicans and Tea Partiers. At rallies across Kentucky in recent months, Tea Party supporters have assailed the Senate Minority Leader as someone who talks like a conservative while in the commonwealth, but votes with liberals when in Washington.

Bobby Alexander, with the Central Kentucky Tea Party Patriots, told WKU Public Radio at a recent rally in Elizabethtown that McConnell has forgotten what it means to be a Republican.

Abbey Oldham

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has defeated millionaire businessman Matt Bevin in an expensive and bruising primary election in Kentucky. He'll face Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in the fall as he pursues his sixth term. Grimes handily won the Democratic Senate primary.

McConnell has been one of President Barack Obama's fiercest critics, but Bevin accused the longtime senator of not being conservative enough.

Bevin spent $3.3 million in his bid as a political newcomer backed by various tea party groups. McConnell drowned him out with more than $9 million in spending. Outside groups spent millions more defending his conservative credentials.
 
McConnell had already shifted into fall campaign mode. He's been attacking Obama's health care law and coal regulations and trying to link Grimes to the president, who is deeply unpopular in Kentucky.

Emil Moffatt

Just days away from the Kentucky primary, Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has her eyes fixed on November and a potential general election matchup with incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell.

In front of an estimated crowd of more than 200 supporters Friday evening at Circus Square Park in Bowling Green, Grimes spoke after being introduced by State Rep. Jody Richards. It was the final stop of the day on Grimes' bus tour of Kentucky. 

“The energy, the excitement is contagious,” Grimes said to the crowd.  “I know you are ready, not only for May 20th but to give me enough shoe leather to run all the way until November.”

Grimes’ criticism of McConnell was unrelenting, calling the incumbent the “senator of yesterday.”

“Yesterday’s view of minimum wage, yesterday’s view against women getting equal pay for equal work. Yesterday’s view against actually bringing funding here for our universities, yesterday’s view against actually realizing it’s the job of a U.S. Senator to actually bring jobs to this state,” said Grimes.

While establishment Republicans may still rule the day, the Tea Party is bent on taking down the king, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. 

The five-term incumbent is waging two wars to hang on to his seat. The first battle, culminating on May 20, has McConnell in a primary contest with Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. Hoping he doesn’t survive to fight in the general election, Tea Party groups across Kentucky are rallying the troops ahead of the May 20 primary.

“When was the last time you saw a town hall here in Kentucky with Senator McConnell where he actually answered questions? He shows up at Lincoln Day dinners, gives his speech, and leaves," asserts Scott Hofstra with the United Kentucky Tea Party. "He’s not accountable to us and doesn’t want to be. We deserve better.”

Hofstra spoke recently in Elizabethtown to a group called the Central Kentucky Tea Party Patriots, a mix of mostly blue collar workers and retirees. 

National Tea Party groups are mostly split in their support of McConnell and Bevin, but state and local groups are mostly rallying around Bevin, someone they call a “true conservative,” who they think can take the GOP back to its roots.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says that turnout for this Tuesday’s primary election isn’t likely to exceed 30 percent.

Grimes says without a presidential contest and without ballot initiatives like a local option sales tax, turnout among Kentucky’s 3.1 million registered voters will be lower than in some previous years.

“Based on conversations that we have had with our county clerks throughout the state, the fact that there is no local option question available, or on the ballot, and when we’re looking at the absentee numbers that are being reviewed by the state board of elections, they are lagging from where we were at this very time in ‘06 and 2013," the Secretary said.

About 1,000 offices will be up for grabs Tuesday across 3,700 voting precincts.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Kevin Willis

A new poll shows Kentucky’s incumbent U.S. Senator coasting to victory against his Republican primary challenger.

But that same poll shows a dead-heat between Sen. Mitch McConnell and presumptive Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The NBC News-Marist poll shows Senator McConnell with a lead of 57-25 percent over his primary challenger, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. Things are much tighter for the fall general election, however, with the poll showing McConnell with just a 46-45 percent lead over Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Sen. McConnell faces low approval numbers in the new poll, with 46 percent of registered voters saying they disapprove of the job he’s doing, while 41 percent say they approve.

Far fewer voters have formed an opinion about Secretary Grimes, with 27 percent of those surveyed saying they’re unsure, and another 10 percent who say they’ve never heard of her.

Former President Bill Clinton visited Louisville Tuesday to stump for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race.

Grimes is running against Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in a tight race, which is gaining national media attention. In recent weeks, she has put issues such as raising the minimum wage and closing the gender pay gap at the center of her candidacy.

Clinton says Grimes is a contrast with McConnell because she cares about rebuilding the middle-class and believes in compromise over gridlock.

The former President asked his audience if "we should stay with this model of constant conflict, which can generate unlimited amounts of special interest money to keep people stuck in their ideological ruts. Nothing good will happen except the people who are on the receiving end of the benefits may win one more election."

"But real people don’t win that way,” Clinton said.

Clinton also endorsed the Grimes campaign jobs plan, especially its ideas to get military veterans back to work.

The McConnell campaign says Grimes has yet to explain how much the jobs plan would cost and how she would pay for it.

Former President Bill Clinton will be in Kentucky Tuesday to help raise money for a U.S. Senate candidate.

Clinton will headline a lunchtime fundraiser at a Louisville hotel for Democrat Alison Lundergran Grimes. The cost of admission to the event at the Galt House is a contribution of $100-$5,200.

The Courier-Journal reports those who give one-thousand-dollars will get access to a rope line. Donors at the $2,600 level will also gain entry into a reception featuring Clinton, and $5,200 gets the donor a special commemorative gift.

Grimes and Clinton have a history. Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, is a longtime friend of the former President and was Kentucky chairman Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

During Bill Clinton’s first inaugural festivities, a 14-year-old Alison Lundergan Grimes gave the new first couple of bouquet of red roses at the base of the Lincoln Memorial.

An employee with the Legislative Research Commission has been fired after appearing in an online video in support of a Democratic Senatorial candidate.

The Courier-Journal reports that Charles Booker, 29, lost his job yesterday as an analyst for the Government Contract Review Committee. Booker appeared in a video for Alison Lundergun Grimes, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mitch McConnell.

In the video, Booker’s wife accuses McConnell of being out of touch with poor Kentuckians. Booker appears briefly in the video and makes a few comments about western Louisville.

LRC personnel policy prohibits employees from taking part in partisan political activity.

Abbey Oldham

Tea Party groups from across the south and midwest are pledging support in the effort to defeat Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

The five-term Kentucky incumbent is facing a primary challenge from Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin.

United Kentucky Tea Party spokesman Scott Hofstra told WKU Public Radio activists from several states have promised to help Bevin win this spring's primary.

“We have had commitments now from Tea Party and liberty groups from Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and as far away as Florida, who have said, ‘We are going to send folks to Kentucky, at our expense, to help you on the ground get out the vote for Matt Bevin'", the Hardin County resident said.

Hofstra admits McConnell has gained many Republican allies at the local level in Kentucky during his nearly 30 years in office.

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