Mitch McConnell

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.

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is more than a little aggravated with the Senate Conservatives Fund, and who can blame him.

The youngish but well-financed Tea Party organization has targeted McConnell, a five-termer from Kentucky and highest-ranking Senate Republican, by helping to bankroll a primary challenger and using the race as an intraparty, us vs. them proxy.

Another high-ranking Kentucky Republican lawmaker is predicting that there won’t be a government shutdown in January.

In an interview in his Washington office, Somerset Republican Congressman Hal Rogers told the Courier-Journal “if we don’t do something, there will be a shutdown, but we’re going to do everything possible to avoid it.”

Kentucky’s Fifth District Representative joins Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in calling on Congress to make sure there is not a repeat of the shutdown that closed the federal government for 16 days in October. The shutdown ended when a stopgap spending plan was passed that funds the government until January 15.

Congressman Rogers and his Democratic counterpart are asking a special budget conference group to send them overall government spending numbers by Thanksgiving, in order to expedite the process of creating a new spending plan.

Abbey Oldham, WKU Public Radio

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has bagged an award from the powerful National Rifle Association, giving him bragging rights for his re-election bid next year in a state where hunting is a tradition. The Republican's opponents are defending their own gun-rights stands in the campaign cross-fire.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes points to her NRA membership and says she'd welcome McConnell to shoot with her at a gun range.
 
McConnell didn't respond to a reporter's question Friday asking if he'd take Grimes up on her offer.

Tennessee Valley Authority

Democrat Alison Grimes has joined Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in urging the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep a coal-fired generating plant operating in Muhlenberg County.

Grimes, who is running for McConnell's Senate seat, said in a statement that an upgrade would bring the Paradise Fossil Plant at Drakesboro into compliance with federal standards, while closure would have a devastating economic impact.

McConnell met with Tennessee Valley Authority President William Johnson last week to seek continued operation of the generating plant. TVA is considering whether it should add new emission controls to two coal-fired units that date back to the late 1950s, build a new generating plant powered by natural gas, or take no action.

TVA said in a statement last week that officials are "evaluating all options."

Re-election trouble is brewing for longtime Republican senators in deep-red states, from South Carolina to Wyoming. And the trouble is from within.

The GOP's restive Tea Party and libertarian wings, energized by their titular leader, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and funded in part by starve-government groups like the Club for Growth, are waging 2014 Senate primary challenges in six states — and counting.

With a deal to end the debt ceiling debate and ongoing government shutdown apparently in place, a well-respected political column lists both of Kentucky’s Republican Senators as “winners” following the extended drama.

The Washington Post’s political column, “The Fix”, says both Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul come out of the battle stronger than when it began. Post reporter Chris Cillizza says Paul benefited from appearing moderate compared to another Tea Party-backed Republican Senator, Ted Cruz. Both Cruz and Paul are believed to be strongly considering 2016 presidential runs, and both would try to capture much of the same electorate.

Cillizza says that by not leading the charge against the GOP establishment, Paul could come across as a kind of hybrid Tea Party candidate with at least some establishment backing.

Senator McConnell is once again being seen as one of the preeminent dealmakers in Washington, playing a central role at the end to come up with a deal after staying in the background during much of the debate.

McConnell Adds Nearly $2.3M to Campaign Account

Oct 11, 2013

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has banked nearly $2.3 million since July, pushing his overall fundraising total to $17.7 million for the election cycle.  Campaign manager Jesse Benton said Friday the numbers reflect McConnell's strongest quarter to date for fundraising.

McConnell is facing challenges from Democratic front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes. He also has a primary opponent, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. Neither of the two have yet released their fundraising totals.

McConnell's campaign said that he received donations from about 6,000 donors. Benton said the McConnell campaign will report nearly $10 million cash on hand.

McConnell is seeking re-election next year to a sixth term.

After an hour of debate, the Republican Party of a conservative Kentucky county stopped short of endorsing the Louisville businessman who is challenging incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

Boone County is an important county for Bluegrass State Republicans. It sits across the Ohio River from Cincinnati has the fourth-highest number of registered Republicans in the state. That’s why Thursday night’s meeting of the Boone County GOP brought out both Republican Senate challenger Matt Bevin, and Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton.

The Courier-Journal reports that following an hour of discussion, the county party decided not to make an endorsement in the race. Benton told members that it would be a “poor mistake” for any county party to make a Senate endorsement.

That led Bevin to tell members that they should vote their "conscience".

Boone County GOP chairman Rick Brueggemann said while there is “significant dissatisfaction” with Senator McConnell’s voting record, he didn’t think many members were comfortable making a primary endorsement.

Sen. Mitch McConnell's Newest Headache

Sep 18, 2013

As House Republican leaders acquiesce to their Tea Party faction and tie a government spending renewal to the defunding of Obamacare, don't look for much cheering from the Senate minority leader's office.

That's because what had largely been House Speaker John Boehner's problem now becomes Kentucky GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell's problem — at least for the next steps of this drama.

In a speech to the nation Tuesday, President Obama will make his case for a U.S. military strike on Syria.  Regardless of what the president says, some members of Kentucky’s federal delegation already have their minds made up. 

Republican Congressman Thomas Massie says he will vote against any resolution authorizing military force against Syria for its government’s alleged use of chemical weapons.  For one thing, Massie says he’s uncomfortable with the language in the president’s proposal.

"It's not limited geographically, it's not limited by type of engagement, and it's not limited by who we can engage, not just the Syrians," contends Massie.

Massie contends the civil war in Syria is not a matter of U.S. national security.  Massie is joined by Congressman Ed Whitfield as solid “no” votes.  U.S. Representatives Brett Guthrie, Hal Rogers, and Andy Barr, all GOP members, are still contemplating.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says while he hasn’t made up his mind on a possible U.S. strike in Syria, he’s certain American military forces won’t be placed inside that country.

Republican Mitch McConnell spoke to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday, and said even those in Washington who are advocating for U.S. involvement in Syria are stopping short of calling for boots on the ground.

“I’m not just instinctively opposed to military action,” the Louisville Republican said. “I supported the Afghan war, and I supported the Iraq war. Certainly we need to be careful about doing it. I don’t think anybody supports putting any American military personnel there at all.”

McConnell said he would announce his position on Syria “in the coming days.”

The Senate Minority Leader said there’s no way to be certain which political or religious group would take over Syria if the current regime was toppled.

A WKU political analyst says the ongoing debate over possible U.S. military action in Syria comes at an opportune time for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Political Science Professor and Warren County Republican Party Chairman Scott Lasley says Paul has long talked about the U.S. needing to adopt a less aggressive foreign policy. Sen. Paul--who is considering a presidential run--has been a vocal opponent of U.S. military involvement in Syria, saying it’s not in America’s interest to get involved in another nation’s civil war.

Professor Lasley says Paul’s position is something that could attract voters who wouldn’t normally side with the Bowling Green Republican.

“Particularly with younger voters, where Republicans have struggled the last couple of election cycles. A lot of time there’s not a huge difference between younger voters and older voters, but one of the areas that you do see a difference is the aggressiveness of foreign policy.”

Louisville Tea Party Leader Endorses Bevin for U.S. Senate

Aug 30, 2013

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin has been endorsed by Louisville Tea Party President Wendy Caswell ahead of next year's primary.
   
Bevin, a Louisville businessman, has been reaching out to tea party activists in hopes of winning the GOP nomination over Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
   
McConnell has also received tea party endorsements, including that of Sen. Rand Paul, and even has a tea party leader managing his campaign for re-election to a sixth term.
   
Bevin said he's grateful for the support of Caswell who leads one of the largest tea party groups in the state.
   
Caswell said she endorsed Bevin because she believes he will stand against wasteful government spending.
   
The winner of the McConnell-Bevin matchup will likely face Democratic front-runner Alison Grimes in next year's general election.

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