Jim Gray

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

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray accused U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of having “wild-ass” ideas in their first and only face-to-face debate of the election year. The at times freewheeling event underscored the candidates’ differences on foreign policy and economic values. Paul repeatedly tried to tie Gray to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, who are both unpopular in Kentucky. “The mayor’s endorsed both of these candidates, so it makes it very difficult for him in Western Kentucky or Eastern Kentucky to convince people that he’s for them when he’s for these regulations that have been killing their jobs,” Paul said. The hour-long debate, which was televised live on KET, took place about a week before Kentuckians go to the polls on Nov. 8. Gray is in his second term as mayor of Lexington. Paul is at the end of his first term in the Senate. He also sought the Republican nomination for president but dropped out of the race earlier this year.

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate says the state’s economy would get a major boost from an infrastructure overhaul. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray spoke to students Friday at Western Kentucky University. Gray said if nothing is done by the year 2020 it will take a trillion dollars to fix the nation’s infrastructure problems. The Barren County native cited a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers that gave Kentucky’s infrastructure a grade of C. Gray said lawmakers have to address the declining health of the nation’s roads, bridges and other modes of transportation first. “What I would do is create a national infrastructure act, a bill, and I would be a champion for infrastructure and through that we will examine the needs and we will prioritize those needs and we will get the projects done,” Gray said. The report from the ASCE gives the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of D+.

21c Hotel

The Republican Party of Kentucky says a super PAC is inappropriately supporting Democratic Senate candidate Jim Gray because one of the organization’s leaders benefited from a city development initiative during Gray’s time as mayor of Lexington. Kentucky Moving Forward released its first television ad criticizing Gray’s opponent, first term Sen. Rand Paul, on Tuesday. The commercial features a clip of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump saying that Paul “shouldn’t even be on this stage” during a debate earlier this year and criticizes Paul for having a $300,000 campaign debt. The treasurer of the organization is Steve Wilson who is also the co-founder and CEO of 21c Museum Hotels, which opened a hotel in downtown Lexington earlier this year. The company received a $6 million Housing and Urban Development loan and a $1 million loan from the city, both of which had to be approved by the Lexington City Council.

J. Tyler Franklin | wfpl.org

Democratic Senate candidate Jim Gray has launched a TV commercial attacking Republican Sen. Rand Paul's foreign policy record about a month before Election Day. The ad features high profile Republicans criticizing Paul during his failed presidential run.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is one of the figures shown criticizing Paul’s foreign policy record in the ad saying, “Rand Paul is a disaster on military and defense.” The commercial also includes cuts of Arizona Sen. John McCain saying, "He simply does not have an understanding about the threats of United States national security." Paul did propose defense spending cuts in 2011, but in 2015 proposed increasing defense spending by $190 billion over two years. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Fox News commentator Bill O’ Reilly are also shown criticizing Paul during his presidential run. Paul is at the end of his first six-year term in the Senate. Gray was elected to a second term as the mayor of Lexington in 2014. Gray’s campaign is spending $325,000 to air the commercial across the state. Kelsey Cooper, communications director for Paul’s campaign, said the claims in the ad are false and that Gray is a “desperate, typical politician.”

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.

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.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race continues its sleepy pace past Labor Day as Democratic candidate Jim Gray fights to be competitive and the incumbent lays low, enjoying a Republican surge in the state. Gray and Republican incumbent Rand Paul have — mostly through their spokespeople — squared off on issues such as revitalizing the coal industry, gun control and finding solutions to the opioid epidemic. But interest in the race has paled in comparison to the 2014 barnburner between Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and Kentucky’s Democratic Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes. Steve Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky, said that’s partly due to there being so many competitive Senate races across the country. “Both the Democrats themselves and the affiliated interest groups who often throw money into a Senate race have a really wide board on which to play the game this election,” Voss said.

Ryland Barton

Democrat Jim Gray used Labor Day to unveil his jobs plan as he tries to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Media outlets report Gray released his economic agenda Monday at the United Auto Workers union hall in Louisville. Gray says he wants to invest in infrastructure, broadband internet and education to bring more jobs and attract businesses to Kentucky. That includes repairing and rebuilding roads and bridges. He says state residents are "living today on the infrastructure of our parents and our grandparents." He also stressed the importance of small business and increasing access to small business loans. Gray co-owns a construction company and has been Lexington's mayor since 2011. Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010.

Paul and Gray campaigns

A new political action committee is hoping to boost the chances of Kentucky Democrats winning the state’s U.S. Senate race this November. Kentucky Moving Forward is a Super PAC that will raise money for a media campaign aimed at helping Lexington Mayor Jim Gray defeat Republican Rand Paul. The Super PAC’s spokesman, Jared Smith, wouldn’t say how much money it has on hand or plans to raise. “I’m not really ready to get into budget requirements and how much we’re going to spend. I can just tell you we’re going to have a very healthy paid media campaign statewide across Kentucky that includes TV ads.” Smith said the Kentucky Senate race is currently the group’s sole focus. "Almost positive this is the only race that we will play in this year. Kentucky Moving Forward does expect to be around in other races to come down the line."

Ryland Barton

Lexington Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says the Kentucky Farm Bureau should change its policies that oppose same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ issues. “I think the Farm Bureau needs to adjust and adapt to the times, and that means adjusting their policies,” Gray said after wading through a crowd of pro-LGBTQ protesters outside the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual Ham Breakfast event in Louisville on Thursday morning. A Democrat, Gray is openly gay and running against Republcian Sen. Rand Paul in his bid for reelection. The Kentucky Fairness Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, has demonstrated outside of the annual event for years, opposing the Farm Bureau’s stances against same-sex marriage, domestic benefits for same-sex couples and abortion.

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

Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates will make their first appearance together at the rowdy Fancy Farm political picnic amid a turbulent national election year. Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Democratic Lexington Mayor Jim Gray are both scheduled to face the raucous crowds in Fancy Farm, where thousands of people have gathered every year since 1880 at St. Jerome Parish to eat pork, play Bingo and watch to see how politicians deliver a speech while being peppered with boos and insults from at least half the crowd. It will be Gray's first appearance in the shaded pavilion as the mayor of Kentucky's second largest city is making his first bid for statewide office. Paul, who is finishing up his first term in the U.S. Senate, is a Fancy Farm veteran.

Gray Calls For Roads, Technology To Help Coal Regions

Jul 27, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says he would spend more money on technology and improve roads in eastern Kentucky to help the region recover from the devastating effects of a declining coal industry. Gray revealed his plan on Tuesday along with other state Democratic leaders. Gray said his plan would increase funding for the federal Office of Fossil Energy’s carbon capture storage technology research and would work to widen the Hal Rogers parkway to four lanes from Hazard to Somerset. Republicans have criticized Gray and other Democrats as being anti-coal after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said she would put coal miners and coal companies out of business. Gray told reporters he still supports Clinton but said she he was wrong about coal. Clinton has since said she was mistaken in her remarks.

Gray, Paul to Campaign in Kentucky Coal Country on Tuesday

Jul 26, 2016
Paul (photo provided) Gray (Jim Gray for US Senate)

Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates are campaigning in eastern Kentucky as the race picks up steam heading into the annual Fancy Farm picnic. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray is scheduled to unveil his plan to help Kentucky's economically distressed coal communities on Tuesday. The Lexington mayor is scheduled to join other state lawmakers including House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones in Pikeville to discuss his plan. Republicans have criticized Gray and other Democrats as being anti-coal after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said her policies would put coal miners and coal companies out of business. Clinton later said she was mistaken in her remarks. Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will hold four town-hall style events on Tuesday in Corbin, Pineville, Harlan and Whitesburg.

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.

Grant Short

An Owensboro man who hopes to replace Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator says lawmakers need to do more to strengthen working-class families. Grant Short is seeking the Democratic nomination to replace Republican incumbent Rand Paul. In Bowling Green on Wednesday, Short talked about his Family Values Plan that calls for child care subsidies, federal sick days, and universal Pre-K, among other things. Short added that he has a plan to pay for it all. "I've high-balled this at $1.8 billion to implement over ten years," Short told WKU Public Radio. "The way you pay for it is by subsidizing human beings the same way as subsidized global oil companies. We subsidize them on a rate of a trillion dollars, so I think we can find one-tenth of that to subsidize the American family who is struggling."

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