Alison Lundergan Grimes

Grimes Pushes Higher Minimum Wage

Feb 4, 2014

Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes says increasing the federal minimum wage would be at the top of her agenda if she's elected to the U.S. Senate. 

Grimes said in a release that a higher minimum wage would raise the income and spending power for tens of thousands of Kentucky families.

The issue presents a stark contrast between Grimes and Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, who is seeking a sixth term this year.

McConnell says a higher minimum wage would force businesses to reduce jobs.

A Democratic push to boost the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour is seen as a long shot in Congress this year. President Barack Obama made a push for the increase in his State of the Union speech.

Grimes is the Democratic front-runner for the seat held by McConnell.

A conservative group is planning to blanket Kentucky in coming weeks with TV ads defending Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. The ad buy will also link McConnell with his fellow Kentucky Republican, Rand Paul.

The website Politico says it’s learned that the nonprofit group Kentucky Opportunity Coalition will spend nearly $400,000 over the next week on the ads. According to a script shared with Politico, the ad will tell viewers that Senators McConnell and Paul are “working together to stop Obamacare.”

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition is a 501 (c) (4) group aligned with the SuperPAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership. That group has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on commercials attacking Kentucky Senate Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Democratic groups have also jumped into the fray, with Senate Majority PAC and the group Patriot Money labeling McConnell as an obstructionist who should be retired from office after nearly three decades in the U.S. Senate.

The Federal Election Commission says the re-election campaign of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell accepted “apparent excessive contributions” from a dozen individuals and seven political action committees. The claims were made in a preliminary review of the campaign’s disclosure report covering the months of July, August, and September.

The Courier-Journal reports the FEC has told the McConnell campaign that the contributions in question appear to exceed the legal limits.

Under campaign finance law, an individual can give up to $2,600 per election, meaning a person could actually give $5,200 to campaign, with half designated for the primary, and the other half going to the general election.

In each of the dozen cases involving individuals cited by the FEC, the contributors gave the McConnell campaign multiple donations dating back as far as 2009. The most recent donations made last quarter pushed those contributors over the legal limit.

Some of the political action committees cited by the FEC as having made excessive donations include those run by the American Health Care Association, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and Clear Channel.

You can read the FEC letter sent to the McConnell re-election campaign here.

Tennessee Valley Authority

Democrat Alison Grimes has joined Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in urging the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep a coal-fired generating plant operating in Muhlenberg County.

Grimes, who is running for McConnell's Senate seat, said in a statement that an upgrade would bring the Paradise Fossil Plant at Drakesboro into compliance with federal standards, while closure would have a devastating economic impact.

McConnell met with Tennessee Valley Authority President William Johnson last week to seek continued operation of the generating plant. TVA is considering whether it should add new emission controls to two coal-fired units that date back to the late 1950s, build a new generating plant powered by natural gas, or take no action.

TVA said in a statement last week that officials are "evaluating all options."

McConnell Adds Nearly $2.3M to Campaign Account

Oct 11, 2013

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has banked nearly $2.3 million since July, pushing his overall fundraising total to $17.7 million for the election cycle.  Campaign manager Jesse Benton said Friday the numbers reflect McConnell's strongest quarter to date for fundraising.

McConnell is facing challenges from Democratic front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes. He also has a primary opponent, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. Neither of the two have yet released their fundraising totals.

McConnell's campaign said that he received donations from about 6,000 donors. Benton said the McConnell campaign will report nearly $10 million cash on hand.

McConnell is seeking re-election next year to a sixth term.

Kentucky has received a $2.2 million federal grant to help pay for an electronic system for delivering election ballots to soldiers deployed overseas.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced the grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. Tuesday.

Grimes said the money will help with the cost of an electronic system that could be used in place of U.S. mail to get ballots to military personnel.

Lawmakers approved legislation earlier this year to allow soldiers and civilians living overseas to receive ballots electronically to speed up the process.

The secretary of state's office is in the preliminary stages of developing the system, which is expected to be in place for next year's general election.

Democratic Senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is taking aim at a Republican strategist’s claims that she is “an empty dress.”

National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Brad Dayspring also said Grimes is “incapable of articulating her own thoughts.” Members of Grimes’s camp joined liberal organizations in denouncing the comments as sexist.

Politico reports the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a fundraising solicitation Wednesday on the heels of the comments, telling supporters to counter what the group called “misogynistic attacks.”

Republican party officials, meanwhile, brushed off the accusations and pointed to the ongoing sexual harassment investigation surrounding Democratic state representative John Arnold of Union County.

Libertarian Candidate Enters Kentucky Senate Race

Aug 26, 2013

Libertarian David Patterson has announced his intention to run against incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

The 42-year old Harrodsburg police officer said in a statement that he's making the bid to unseat McConnell because voters are looking for an alternative.

Ken Moellman, chairman of the Libertarian Party's state executive committee, said he's pleased Patterson wanted to get into the race. Patterson will seek the party's nomination in an internal primary on March 1.

McConnell is seeking a sixth term in office in next year's election. His chief rival is Democratic secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes. Republican Matt Bevin is challenging McConnell in next spring's primary.

Republican dreams of a U.S. Senate takeover have been shattered in recent elections by a collection of "unelectable" nominees — the term of art used by political pros to refer to not-ready-for-prime-time candidates whose extreme views doomed their chances with mainstream voters.

There was Delaware's Christine "I'm Not A Witch" O'Donnell, and Nevada's Sharron "Some Latinos Look More Asian To Me" Angle in 2010.

Last year's contests starred Indiana's Richard "Rape Pregnancies Are A Gift From God" Mourdock, and Missouri's Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin.

Kentucky News Network

Up until a few weeks ago many expected Saturday's Fancy Farm picnic in Graves County to be an off year for the annual political event. But, with high profile candidates in the 2014 U.S. Senate race, it seems there are no off years at Fancy Farm.

Kentucky Public Radio's John Null explains in this report.

Democratic Senate front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes has portrayed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as being a chief Republican obstructionist as the rivals shared the spotlight at Kentucky's premier political event.

Grimes, Kentucky's 34-year-old Secretary of State, accused McConnell of being a part of the "disease of dysfunction" in Washington, and blocking legislation just to spite the White House.

"If doctors told Senator McConnell he had a kidney stone, he'd refuse to pass it," said Grimes.

McConnell touted his Senate leadership and ignored Grimes, aiming his criticism at President Barack Obama. Both candidates in next year's Senate race spoke at the Fancy Farm picnic on Saturday in western Kentucky.

McConnell told a raucous crowd that Obama's health-care law is a "disaster", and said he will focus his campaign on the damage the President's policies are having in the Bluegrass State.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, up for re-election next year, will share a stage Saturday afternoon with his top challengers at the always raucous church picnic known for spicy barbecue and even spicier speeches.

The event — a holdover from the days before television, when politicians had to seek out crowds to solicit votes — draws thousands of people each year to the tiny western Kentucky community of Fancy Farm and is considered a must-attend for politicians.

It will provide voters the first side-by-side comparison of McConnell and his foes — Republican primary opponent Matt Bevin and Democratic front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes — in a charged political climate with the candidates taking turns trying to shout their speeches over jeering hecklers.

"From a purely political standpoint, it's a test for candidates," said Greg Higdon, a former state senator who helps with the picnic, now in its 133rd year. "There have been some politicians who have handled it better than others. It's not easy. I know it's tough."

Kentucky's presumed Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate was in Bowling Green Wednesday, her first stop since her official campaign kick-off Tuesday in Lexington that drew more than a thousand party faithful. 

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is on a bus tour through western Kentucky ahead of Saturday's Fancy Farm political picnic.  She told a crowd gathered at the FOP Lodge in Bowling Green that Washington is lacking the compromise seen under former Democratic Senator Wendell Ford.

"Compromise, common ground, it's not something to be ashamed of," said Grimes.  "Indeed it's necessary and I believe vital to preserve and protect the country that each of us equally loves.  I'm in this race because I believe it needs to be that way again."

Grimes' speech was light on specifics concerning policy.  She declined to speak with reporters covering the event.

Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes will be in Bowling Green Wednesay at noon, as part of what her campaign is calling the "Road to Fancy Farm" bus tour.

Grimes will be at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge on Corvette Drive. Her campaign also has a meet-and-greet scheduled Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Central City.

WKU Public Radio will be at the Warren County event to interview Grimes. We'll have those stories throughout the afternoon during our local newscasts and here at our website.

A Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky is suing his own party, alleging favoritism of one candidacy over others.

Ed Marksberry claims the Kentucky Democratic Party is unfairly and illegally promoting the campaign of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the most well-known and well-funded candidate in the Democratic field so far. 

Marksberry, an Owensboro contractor, filed a lawsuit this week against Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Logsdon. Marksberry says in suit that he was shocked by a July 1 email from the state party announcing Grimes’ campaign because the party had refused to make announcements on his behalf.  Marksberry claims he was told that sending such communications would violate the party’s by-laws, which prohibit the party from using its resources to support one candidate over another in a primary election. 

Marksberry tells the Lexington Herald-Leader the state party is favoring the rich over the working class in his party.  Neither the Grimes’ campaign nor the state Democratic party have commented on the lawsuit.  Marksberry could not be reached Tuesday by WKU Public Radio.

Marksberry, who lost a 2010 bid for Congress, says he is considering running for the U.S. Senate as an Independent.  The winner of the Democratic primary next May will face either Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell or Tea Party activist Matt Bevin, the only two candidates so far in the GOP primary election.

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