Mitch McConnell

Politics
11:17 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Kentucky Senate Candidates to Share Stage at Annual Fancy Farm Picnic

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."

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Politics
5:28 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Pro-McConnell Super PAC Brings In $1.2 Million So Far

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

A political action committee supporting Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator has raised $1.2 million since its creation in April.

Major donors to the pro-Mitch McConnell Super PAC called Kentuckians for Strong Leadership include Donald Trump, who has given $50,000, and deceased mega-donor Bob Perry, who gave $100,000. The information was found in the PAC’s most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Perry’s donation is listed as having been made June 3, which is almost two months after he died. The PAC’s treasurer told the website Politico that the wrong date was recorded due to a clerical error in the filings.

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has so far spent nearly $400,000 in media ads supporting McConnell’s 2014 re-election campaign.

Politics
10:35 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Bevin to Speak at Fancy Farm, Along with McConnell and Grimes

Republican Matt Bevin will be in the tiny community of Fancy Farm next week when politicians gather for a heated afternoon of stump speeches.

Bevin, a newcomer to the U.S. Senate race, will share the stage with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the top Democratic challenger, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Aug. 3.

Though the election isn't until next year, the campaign is in full swing. TV ads have been running for weeks already.

One of the Fancy Farm organizers, Mark Wilson, said Bevin was confirmed as a speaker after he announced his candidacy on Wednesday. Two of Kentucky's highest-profile Democrats, Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, won't attend the event.

The political speeches are part of a church picnic that doubles as a fundraiser for St. Jerome Parish. The annual event typically draws some 10,000 people and generates about $250,000.

Politics
10:32 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Bevin Enters Kentucky Senate Race, Blasts McConnell

Political newcomer Matt Bevin has declared the time has come for Kentucky voters to oust Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.

Bevin criticized McConnell at a Frankfort press conference Wednesday for being a part of "the politics of failure" for nearly three decades. And Bevin offered himself as the alternative, describing himself as a man of the people, having grown up in a farmhouse with wood stoves for heat, a garden for vegetables, and land that provided assorted animals for meat, milk and eggs.

The Louisville investment adviser charged that McConnell "has lost touch with our state, its people and our values."

Meanwhile, the McConnell campaign released a new TV ad charging that Bevin accepted a $200,000 taxpayer bailout for companies he owns in Connecticut. The ad calls him "Bailout Bevin."

Politics
8:44 am
Wed July 24, 2013

For McConnell, Prospect of Primary Challenge Leads to Tea Party Outreach

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator is trying to reach out to Tea Party groups as he seeks another six-year term in Washington.

Mitch McConnell needs to shore up support on the Republican right in order to fend off a primary challenge next year. Sen. McConnell knew he would have a challenge from Democrats in 2014. What he was hoping to avoid was a primary challenge from a fellow Republican.

But that’s exactly what he has now, following Louisville investment advisor Matt Bevin’s entrance into the race. Bevin is officially announcing Wednesday that he will seek the GOP Senate nomination, creating a primary fight for McConnell. 

McConnell isn't taking the news lying down.

Politico reports McConnell played host to the Tea Party caucus Tuesday in Washington, at a celebration honoring the birthday of former Senator Bob Dole. McConnell has had a strained relationship with the Tea Party, at first largely ignoring the movement, and then trying to mend fences when the Tea Party showed it had become a major powerbroker within the GOP.

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Politics
10:28 am
Tue July 23, 2013

McConnell to Face Challenge from Right in 2014 Senate Primary

In addition to fighting off Democratic challengers, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell will also have to to defeat at least one fellow Republican next year.

An aide to Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin distributed a news advisory Tuesday announcing stops on a statewide tour announcing his candidacy for Senate.

Bevin's entry into the race could force a shift in the McConnell campaign, which had been concentrating entirely on Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's 34-year-old Secretary of State.

The move by Bevin to challenge McConnell reflects a splintering of the tea party movement in Kentucky. Many activists, including Kentucky's junior U.S. Senator, Rand Paul of Bowling Green, have already pledged their support to McConnell's 2014 re-election efforts.

Not All Tea Party Groups Think Alike Re: McConnell in '14

McConnell’s re-election effort is highlighting divisions between some Kentucky tea party organizations, and national tea party groups backing the U.S. Senate Minority Leader.

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Politics
9:02 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Reid Revels in Possible Tea Party Challenge for McConnell

The U.S. Senate Majority Leader is making some jokes at the expense of Kentucky’s senior Senator.

Democrat Harry Reid, speaking Monday at a gathering of the pro-Obama group, Organizing for Action, said Mitch McConnell "tried to make love to the tea party, and they didn’t like it.”

Reid and McConnell have been at odds recently over the GOP’s use of filibusters to prevent some of President Obama’s executive branch nominees from receiving confirmation votes.

Reid’s comments about the Tea Party and McConnell come as speculation mounts about a possible Republican primary challenge against the GOP Senate leader. Some in the Tea Party have criticized McConnell for not being sufficiently conservative on fiscal issues.

Politics
5:11 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Democrats: McConnell's Attacks on President Hypocritical

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Democrats are responding to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell’s criticism of President Obama regarding veterans’ disability claims. Speaking Monday in Louisville at the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, McConnell said the backlog of more than 816-thousand disabled veterans who are seeking benefits is a “national disgrace.”

Kentucky’s senior Senator said the President should get involved to clear the medical claims backlog, adding “veterans should be able to count on their commander in chief.”

But the Courier-Journal reports the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly shot back at the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, saying that McConnell’s obstructionism is to blame for the problem. The group pointed out McConnell voted against a V.A. appropriations bill that included a plan to address the heavy backlog of veterans’ medical claims.

According to Congressional Quarterly, McConnell was one of six Republican Senators to vote against a House measure that included funding designed to clear the backlog.

A spokesman for McConnell says money isn’t the issue, pointing out that the V.A’s funding has increased 40% over the past four years.

Politics
8:02 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Pro-McConnell Super PAC Set to Target Grimes with Ad Buy

A Super PAC supporting Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is about to go on the air with TV ads targeting Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The group Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has purchased $270,000 in ads that are set to debut Friday in several markets, including Bowling Green, Louisville, and Evansville.

Politico reports that a source says the ads will be aimed at defining Grimes in negative terms, as the Secretary of State tries to get her Senate campaign up and running. McConnell is considered one of the top targets for Democrats during next year’s election cycle.

Grimes is the highest-profile Democrat to announce a challenge to McConnell next year, but her campaign has gotten off to a rocky start. Her July 1 announcement declaring her Senate candidacy was largely panned by analysts as disorganized and underwhelming, and since joining the race Grimes has been largely unseen in public.

She announced Wednesday that her Senate campaign would have an official launch July 30.

Politics
1:19 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

McConnell and Grimes to Both Speak at Fancy Farm Picnic

The Fancy Farm picnic will be the backdrop for an early face-off between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Both campaigns said Tuesday their candidates will attend the Aug. 3 event in western Kentucky.

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said the Republican senator wants to hear Grimes' views on health care, coal and gun rights.

Grimes political adviser Jonathan Hurst referred to McConnell as "Sen. Gridlock" and said the campaign looks forward to hearing the senator defend to his long record in Washington.

McConnell is seeking election to a sixth Senate term next year. Grimes is in her first term as Kentucky's secretary of state.

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