Mitch McConnell

Emil Moffatt

Thousands of Kentucky workers continue looking for new opportunities in a state where the employment landscape continues to dramatically change.  Coal jobs have seen a steep decline – as have manufacturing positions – many of which have been relocated overseas. 

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says congress can take action to make Kentucky and every other state more attractive to U.S. companies.

“We can fund investments in American businesses that create jobs for Kentucky workers,” said Grimes in a phone interview with WKU Public Radio Wednesday. “I think we can expand tax credits for businesses relocating to the United States and end the tax breaks for businesses that ship jobs outside of the Commonwealth.  Rebuilding Kentucky’s manufacturing sector is a priority for me,” said Grimes.

As for increased EPA regulations which have been partially blamed for the loss of coal jobs, Grimes says, if elected, she will work closely with lawmakers from both parties to make sure national energy policy has a “meaningful, long-term place” for coal.

Grimes is trying to defeat five-term incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell in the November 4th election.

Abbey Oldham

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has made no secret of his plans should he win re-election next month and should he become Senate Majority Leader.

The latter will happen if McConnell defeats Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republicans win a net of six Senate seats in November. McConnell has told audiences and reporters that, if he became Senate Majority Leader, he would seek to defeat President Obama’s legislative agenda by adding language to spending bills that would strip funding from projects the President supports.

In an interview with WKU Public Radio Wednesday, McConnell was asked specifically which programs he would seek to defund.

WKU Public Radio: What specific programs or initiatives would you seek to block if you were to become Senate Majority Leader?

Sen. Mitch McConnell: Well, my first choice, obviously, is to see what the President is willing to do with us. We need to do comprehensive tax reform. It’s been 30 years since we scrubbed the code. The President says he wants to do trade agreements. That’s a big winner for Kentucky agriculture. So I think you would anticipate kind of a mix of things, hopefully working on things we can agree on together.

But there are some things we would differ on. The initiatives that the President has carried out through the regulatory side have been quite burdensome to the economy. And we would indeed seek to reign in the regulators, and a good example of that is the war on coal, which has created a depression in eastern Kentucky.

McConnell, Grimes Differ on Marijuana

Sep 26, 2014
WKU Public Radio

Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates agree growing hemp is a good thing for the state, but they differ about the cannabis plant's cousin, marijuana.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes told a radio interviewer on Thursday that she favors having a discussion to reclassify marijuana, especially for medical purposes. She criticized Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell for not wanting to have those discussions.
 
McConnell said Friday he opposes the legalization of marijuana in all circumstances, including for medical purposes. He said legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message to a country that he says should be fighting drugs.

About a dozen Kentucky farmers harvested the state's first commercial hemp crop in decades earlier this week. McConnell and Grimes have said they support

AFL-CIO

The Kentucky AFL-CIO is launching a mail campaign against Senator Mitch McConnell that the group says is part of a “massive political mobilization” that will also include knocking on doors, worksite fliers, and phone banking.  

The labor group is coming to the aid of McConnell’s Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The state AFL-CIO says it will distribute over 70,000 mailers in the coming days attacking Sen. McConnell, saying the Louisville Republican has “been in Washington too long, and he’s lost his way.” The labor group blasts the incumbent for voting against bills that would increase the minimum wage and black lung benefits for miners.

An AFL-CIO spokesman told WKU Public Radio there are over 350,000 current and retired workers in Kentucky who are members of the labor group.

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

An outside group supporting Senator Mitch McConnell is spending nearly $1 million over the next week to run ads attacking his opponent on the immigration issue.

While immigration hasn’t been a major topic of focus in the Senate race between McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, the ads accuse Grimes of backing legislation that would lead to “citizenship for millions who broke the law.”

david4senate.com

The Kentucky chapter of the ACLU is asking Kentucky Educational Television to adopt more inclusive rules related to who it invites to appear on its televised debates.

The Courier-Journal reports that the legal director for the Kentucky ACLU sent a letter to KET saying the statewide broadcaster might be running afoul of federal law due to changes it made to it rules regarding debates.

A copy of the rules sent to WKU Public Radio by KET stated that candidates invited to appear at its U.S. Senate debate must have accepted at least $100,000 in contributions for the current election. Another rule says that those invited must have at least 10 points of support in a public opinion survey conducted by an independent pollster.

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

Two polls show Mitch McConnell with a lead over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky U.S. Senate race. 

A Rasmussen survey conducted last week shows McConnell with a 46-41 lead over Grimes among likely voters.  In May, the incumbent Republican had a slightly larger, seven-percentage point lead.  The two candidates were tied according to Rasmussen in January. The survey has a margin of error of plus-or-minus four percentage points.

Meantime, a new CNN poll has McConnell up four points over Grimes, which falls within the survey’s margin of error. Fifty-percent of poll respondents said they would support Sen. McConnell, with 46 percent backing Grimes. That survey also shows 16 percent of Democrats said they were either supporting or leading towards supporting McConnell.

Despite trailing in the polls overall, Grimes has big leads over McConnell in the state’s urban areas, including a 27-point-lead in the Louisville region.

WKU PBS

Senator Mitch McConnell is declining to talk about the recent resignation of his campaign manager. At a stop Tuesday in Somerset, the Republican incumbent didn’t address issues surrounding Jesse Benton, who stepped down from the McConnell campaign last Friday.

Benton’s resignation came after a former Iowa state Senator pleaded guilty to charges related to a bribery scandal that took place while Benton was political director of then-Congressman Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. The state Senator pleaded guilty to accepting money from the Paul camp in exchange for an endorsement of Congressman Paul for president.

Benton faces no charges related to the case and has said he did nothing illegal.

The Herald Leader reports that Sen. McConnell refused to discuss Benton following a speech to the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce. The paper quoted McConnell as saying his campaign was “moving on” and “talking about the future and not the past.”

McConnell is seeking a sixth term in the Senate, and is being challenged by Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Although he denies any wrongdoing, Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton will resign from the campaign, effective Saturday. 

Several media outlets have reported on questions surrounding Benton's involvement in an alleged political payoff  from two years ago involving former Iowa Republican State Sen. Kent Sorenson. Sorensen pleaded guilty this week to concealing payments from Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign. Investigators contend Sorenson was paid to switch his 2012 presidential endorsement.  

Benton, at that time, was Paul’s political director. Benton calls reports that he knew of the alleged payoff “inaccurate and unsubstantiated.”

But in an e-mail Friday afternoon Benton writes. “I cannot, and will not, allow any possibility that my circumstances will affect the voters’ ability to hear [Mitch McConnell’s]  message and assess his record."

It was the first Saturday in August, and Mitch McConnell was sermonizing from a fake redbrick porch beneath a corrugated metal overhang in Fancy Farm, Ky. (population 458), not far from the Mississippi River. Despite the 90-degree heat, McConnell, the 72-year-old Senate minority leader, wore a starchy yellow dress shirt and crisp khakis, a BlackBerry securely fastened to his belt; his silver hair was neatly combed along a distinct side part. McConnell is often lampooned as a creature of Washington, but he is quite proficient with the schlock and pomp of the stump.

Lisa Autry

One of the nation’s most closely watched political horse races played out in Owensboro Tuesday.  Kentucky’s U.S. Senate nominees met at the Red, White, and Blue Picnic on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse.

"Our first speaker, please give a warm Daviess County round of applause for challenger and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes," announced emcee Kirk Kirkpatrick.

Before a crowd of several hundred, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes utilized a classic campaign strategy: it’s time for change.

"This election comes at a critical time because Mitch McConnell's Washington is not working for Kentucky," suggested Grimes.

Wearing a red dress with cowboy boots, Grimes spoke forcefully as she painted McConnell as the embodiment of all that is wrong in Washington.

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has endorsed Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the Kentucky Senate race. Albright served as Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. 

Meantime, Republican Mitch McConnell is calling on 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to give his campaign a boost.  The Herald-Leader reports Romney will appear at a McConnell fundraiser October 2nd in Lexington.  

The former Massachusetts governor won Kentucky in 2012, picking up 60 percent of the vote.

Centre College

Kentucky Senate candidates Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes will debate October 13th on KET, but they won’t be debating this September at Centre College.  The Danville-based school announced Monday it is calling off attempts to try and host a Senate debate this year. 

“My disappointment runs deep for the citizens of Kentucky, who deserve to make an informed decision on election day,” said Centre College President John A. Roush in a written statement. “We had every indication early on that agreement could be reached, but as time wore on, compromise on the part of both campaigns simply didn’t occur.”

Centre extended invitations to both camps in July, but said Monday it couldn’t get the two sides to commit to the proposed Sept. 3 debate.  Centre hosted vice presidential debates in 2000 and 2012. 

Grimes and McConnell will appear together Tuesday at the Red White & Blue Picnic in Owensboro, but it’s not a traditional debate format.

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes denies accusations that her campaign may have violated federal campaign finance laws.

When asked by reporters at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s ham breakfast in Louisville Thursday, Grimes downplayed a Politico report suggesting her father, Kentucky Democratic party power broker Jerry Lundergan, used his catering company to purchase his daughter’s campaign bus then rented it to her for far less than  market value.

"These are baseless, unfounded, bullying accusations from the McConnell campaign, just an attempt to try to divert attention away from serious questions that Kentuckians have about Mitch McConnell's family profiting off the loss of coal jobs," said Grimes.

The McConnell campaign did not address Grimes’ accusation in a statement to Kentucky Public Radio, saying instead that her campaign is suffering from “potentially very significant legal problems.”

Centre College

Following the announcement that Kentucky's two leading U.S. Senate candidates will appear on Kentucky Educational Television, Centre College's president is reaching out to both camps.

Centre College proposed hosting a debate September 3 between incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

In a letter posted Wednesday on the Danville college's website, President John Roush says Centre is awaiting a response. He says time is ticking but he remains optimistic both candidates will accept.

"It's really about the citizens of the Commonwealth," the letter read. "This is no longer for me about my interests or even Centre College's interests. The citizens of this state deserve the right to hear these candidates and I'm hoping they'll figure that out."

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