Mitch McConnell

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.”

Abbey Oldham

Senator Mitch McConnell wants new restrictions placed on the federal government’s ability to transport the growing number of young migrants coming to the U.S. from Central America.

The Kentucky Republican’s amendment to Senate border legislation would prohibit the movement of what he calls “unaccompanied alien minors” across state lines unless certain criteria are met. Under the plan, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would have to certify the minors wouldn’t have a burdensome economic or public health impact on the affected state and communities.

McConnell’s amendment would also prohibit the movement of the young migrants unless the Health and Human Services and Homeland Security Departments certify that transporting them will not delay their immediate repatriation.

In a news release, McConnell said the unaccompanied minors should be treated humanely and returned to their home country as soon as possible, and not “shipped across the nation and housed at taxpayer expense.”

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.

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.

WKMS

The 134th Fancy Farm Picnic is now just a little more than two weeks away and the line-up of speakers is almost complete.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his challenger, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, are expected to face off for the second time in as many years on August 2. Fancy Farm political chair Mark Wilson says, unlike Grimes, McConnell has yet to confirm his appearance, but expects the five-term Senator will make the trip.

Wilson said the picnic’s attendance could swell to as many as 20,000 people.

“Normally we’ll do 10-12,000 or so," Wilson said. "But with all the heightened interest in the McConnell/Grimes race and then you’ve got U.S. Sen. Rand Paul with some presidential aspirations and then we’ve got Jack Conway and James Comer, both sitting state officials who have gubernatorial aspirations.”

Comer has yet to actually declare himself a candidate for governor. The lone Republican to officially enter the race, Hal Heiner, will not be invited to speak, according to Wilson, because he’s not a sitting public official. McConnell's primary challenger, Matt Bevin, ran into the same problem at last year's event, but was eventually invited to speak.

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

A Super PAC supporting Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is greatly out-performing a similar group that is raising money for Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

According to a report in the Courier-Journal, the vast majority of the contributions made to the pro-McConnell group Kentuckians for Strong Leadership come from out-of-state individuals.

That Super PAC this week reported raising nearly $424,000 during the months of May and June. None of that money came from Kentuckians. The single biggest donation came from Sam Fox of St. Louis, the CEO and chairman of a private company that acquires businesses.

Reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission show Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has raised more than $3.7 million dollars since it was formed last year, with less than 5 percent of that coming from donors with Kentucky addresses.

A Super PAC supporting Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes called We Are Kentucky raised $50,000 during the second quarter, while spending nearly $65,000 in that same time period. Since forming last year, the group has raised $343,000, a fraction of what Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has taken in to support Senator McConnell.

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

Kentucky’s two U.S. Senate candidates are reporting major fundraising hauls.

Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she took in over $4 million during the second quarter ending in June, breaking the record for most money raised by a Kentucky Senate candidate in a single quarter.

That record was previously held by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the man Grimes is trying to defeat this November. McConnell raised $2.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Overall, the Grimes Senate campaign has raised nearly $11.3 million dollars to date.

Shortly after the Grimes camp released their fundraising totals Tuesday, the McConnell campaign announced they raised $3.1 million dollars in the second quarter. The incumbent reported $9.8 million in cash on hand--about $3.6 million more than his Democratic opponent.

The race between Grimes and McConnell is shaping up to be one of the most closely-watched Senate races in the nation, with many analysts predicting it could also be one of the most expensive Senate campaigns in history.

McConnell, Grimes Agree... To Different Debates

Jul 9, 2014
Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes have agreed to debate each other - just not at the same time.

Tuesday, McConnell accepted an invitation to a candidate forum sponsored by the Kentucky Farm Bureau on Aug. 20. Grimes, meanwhile, has accepted an invitation to an Oct. 13 debate that would air on Kentucky Educational Television.

But the candidates have yet to agree to a debate they would both attend. One debate, to be hosted by WDRB, was canceled after McConnell accepted but Grimes did not.
 
McConnell has asked Grimes to agree to three debates with no audience and none after Labor Day. Grimes said she wants an audience and debates in September or October when more people will be paying attention to the election.

McConnell, Grimes Disagree on Contraception Case

Jun 30, 2014
Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

Kentucky's two U.S. Senate candidates disagree on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to allow some corporations to opt out of a new law requiring them to pay for contraception.
 
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell called the decision a victory for religious freedom. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes said churches should be allowed to not provide contraception coverage, but not corporations. She said she supports the right of all women to have access to contraception.
 
It is one of the few times the candidates in one of the country's closest Senate races have sparred on social issues. But more could be coming. McConnell spoke at the National Right to Life convention in Louisville on Saturday. Grimes has said abortion is a choice between a woman, her doctor and her God.

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