Mitch McConnell

The video uploaded to Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's YouTube channel on March 11 is no ordinary campaign ad:

Bevin Says McConnell Refuses to Debate Him

Mar 18, 2014
Abbey Oldham

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin says his opponent, incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell refuses to debate him.

Bevin’s camp announced today he has accepted KET's debate invitation  for April 21. Bevin, a Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist,  says the five-term senator won’t be there, however, because he doesn’t want to talk about the issues.

“I’d love to debate him, but he’s afraid to because he can’t defend his record and he has no vision for the future," Bevin said. "He can’t run on anything he’s done in the past. To me, there’s issues that matter.”

Calls to McConnell’s staff for comment were not immediately returned.

Bevin attended the Calloway County GOP’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner this weekend, but, unlike McConnell, was not invited to speak.

According to a Public Opinion Strategies poll released last week, McConnell leads Bevin 61 to 23 percent among likely Republican primary voters.

Abbey Oldham / WKU Public Radio

If Kentucky Republicans are sweating their party's U.S. Senate primary, they didn't show it Saturday night in Bowling Green.

At the 2014 Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, southern Kentucky Republicans rallied behind U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is facing a primary challenge by Tea Party activist Matt Bevin.

Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie told WKU Public Radio he believes the GOP will be able to unite before the November general election. The Warren County Republican said it’s not the first time a well-known incumbent has faced a primary.

“Hopefully what you can do is that people can come back together," Guthrie said. "And that’s what you hope will happen—people will air out their views. You know, primaries can be tricky, there’s absolutely no doubt about it, because somebody’s going to win, and somebody’s not going to win.”

Senator McConnell took the stage Saturday night and told the audience that he believes he’ll return to Washington next year as Senate Majority Leader. Republicans need to pick up six Senate seats to control the chamber.

A Senate candidate in Kentucky says same-sex marriage could lead to parent-child marriages for tax purposes.

Matt Bevin is challenging five-term Sen. Mitch McConnell in the May 20 Republican primary. Bevin told a radio talk show that marriage should retain its traditional definition as being between a man and a woman.

He says changing that could open the door to arbitrary definitions, such as people claiming to be "married to one of their children" for matters such as inheritance and hospital visits.

Bevin's campaign says he was not linking gay marriage to incest.  The campaign says he was speaking of questions such as "hospital visitations and benefits."

McConnell is the Senate minority leader.

An employee with the Legislative Research Commission has been fired after appearing in an online video in support of a Democratic Senatorial candidate.

The Courier-Journal reports that Charles Booker, 29, lost his job yesterday as an analyst for the Government Contract Review Committee. Booker appeared in a video for Alison Lundergun Grimes, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mitch McConnell.

In the video, Booker’s wife accuses McConnell of being out of touch with poor Kentuckians. Booker appears briefly in the video and makes a few comments about western Louisville.

LRC personnel policy prohibits employees from taking part in partisan political activity.

Abbey Oldham

Tea Party groups from across the south and midwest are pledging support in the effort to defeat Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

The five-term Kentucky incumbent is facing a primary challenge from Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin.

United Kentucky Tea Party spokesman Scott Hofstra told WKU Public Radio activists from several states have promised to help Bevin win this spring's primary.

“We have had commitments now from Tea Party and liberty groups from Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and as far away as Florida, who have said, ‘We are going to send folks to Kentucky, at our expense, to help you on the ground get out the vote for Matt Bevin'", the Hardin County resident said.

Hofstra admits McConnell has gained many Republican allies at the local level in Kentucky during his nearly 30 years in office.

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to the Bluegrass State to campaign on behalf of Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The Grimes campaign says Clinton will appear in Louisville February 25. No further details have so far been released about the visit. Clinton is the last Democrat to carry Kentucky in a presidential election.

Democrats are making no secret that Kentucky’s Senate race is one of the party’s top election priorities in 2014, and have indicated they are willing to pour money and resources into the effort to unseat Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate Minority Leader.

McConnell is facing a Republican primary challenge by Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin.

Office of Sec. Grimes

A new statewide poll has good news for Kentucky’s Democratic Senate candidate.

While the general election is still nine months away, the poll shows Alison Lundergan Grimes with a four-point lead over five-term incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell.

The Bluegrass Poll was conducted for four Louisville and Lexington news outlets by Survey USA. It shows 46 percent of respondents favored Grimes in a matchup with Senator McConnell, while 42 percent supported the GOP incumbent.

The poll also reveals McConnell received just a 27-percent favorability rating. He still faces a primary battle against Republican Matt Bevin, who trails McConnell in the poll by 26 points.

Despite the poll results, McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore says the campaign is “very comfortable about where this race stands.” Grimes said she is “humbled” by the numbers.

Abbey Oldham, WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator is expressing doubts on the prospects of major immigration law overhaul this year.

Republican Mitch McConnell told reporters he doesn’t believe House and Senate leaders will be able to overcome their differences. Senator McConnell describes the differences between the House and Senate as an “irresolvable conflict.” The website Politico reports the Louisville Republican says the problem isn’t specific policy differences between the two chambers, but rather how each side wants to move forward procedurally.

Some Senate Democrats have said they want to tackle immigration overhaul in a comprehensive fashion, by putting all changes in one massive bill.

House Republicans have spoken in support of taking on the issue step-by-step, and passing several smaller bills along the way. While President Obama and some Congressional Democrats have recently indicated they’d be willing to look at piecemeal reform, McConnell says the gulf between the two parties is too great to get reform passed this year.

McConnell is facing a Senate primary challenge this spring by Tea Party activist Matt Bevin, who says he’s opposed to any measure that offers amnesty to illegal immigrants in the U.S.

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 national conservative organization is endorsing the Tea Party challenger in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race.

FreedomWorks says it will invest as much as $500,000 to help Matt Bevin defeat Senator Mitch McConnell in this year’s Republican primary. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe was quoted by the Courier-Journal as saying his group believes Bevin is “an exceptional candidate” who has support from grassroots conservative activists across the commonwealth.

FreedomWorks champions candidates who say they want smaller government, and has earned a reputation for not being afraid to challenge established GOP lawmakers.

Bevin, a Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist, has attacked McConnell as a Washington insider who has betrayed conservatives by repeatedly voting to increase the debt ceiling.

McConnell has said he is confident he will win the GOP primary, and has a huge fundraising advantage over Bevin.

A national conservative group is opening five field offices in Kentucky in an effort to help Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin defeat incumbent U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in the May primary election. 

The Madison Project will staff Get Out the Vote offices in Louisville, Florence, Owensboro, Glasgow, and Bowling Green.  In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, the group’s political director Drew Ryun said those cities have traditionally been strongholds for Senator McConnell. 

Acknowledging that McConnell will have a powerful financial advantage over the Tea Party’s Matt Bevin, the PAC says it will rely more on a ground game.  The Madison Project played in a role in Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s upset win in 2012. 

A McConnell spokesperson the PAC had a failing strategy if its plan was to attack the five-term incumbent.

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says any extension of long-term unemployment benefits must be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere.

Long-term unemployment compensation expired on December 28. Sixty Senators, mostly Democrats, voted Tuesday to open debate on legislation that would extend the program for three months.

Kentucky Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul voted against the procedure. In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to improve the job prospects of those looking for work.

"Yes, we should work on solutions to support those who are out of work through no fault of their own. But there is no excuse to pass unemployment insurance legislation without also finding ways to create good, stable, high-paying jobs--and also trying to find the money to pay for it," Sen. McConnell said Tuesday.

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.

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