Republican efforts to win control of the Kentucky House got a boost from a national figure Saturday.
The incoming U.S. House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, was in Bowling Green to raise money for the Republican Party of Kentucky House Trust. McCarthy visited the commonwealth at the request of the state’s 2nd District Congressman, Brett Guthrie of Warren County.
Speaking to reporters before the fundraiser, Rep. McCarthy said what happens in state legislatures can often trickle up to the nation's capital.
“I feel states are able to show and be a generator of ideas greater than Washington--that you can do the pilot programs,” the California Republican said. “The whole concept of welfare reform came from states. States don’t get to print more money. States have to balance a budget. States have to move forward. They carry out agencies they didn’t create.”
Democrats have controlled the Kentucky House for over 90 years, and the party’s state leaders say they will continue to hold the chamber despite the amount of GOP money being raised ahead of the November election. Republicans would have to win a net gain of five seats this fall to take control of the House.
During his visit to The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, McCarthy said he agreed with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s recent statements about Republicans needing to expand the party’s appeal to groups that haven’t recently voted for the GOP in large numbers, such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and young people.
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.
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.
A bevy of new state laws passed this year by the Kentucky General Assembly is going into effect this week. The legislation ranges from dealing with invasive plant species to tougher ethics laws governing the relationship between lawmakers and lobbyists.
The state constitution stipulates that laws without an “emergency” clause go into effect 90 days after the adjournment of a legislative session. Since the last day was April 15, many new laws are going into effect this week.
Senate Bill 170 grants the state expanded powers to combat invasive plant species like kudzu, which can quickly overtake other plants by drowning them in shade.
Similarly, House Bill 28 will make it tougher for lobbyists to invade the decision-making process in Frankfort by restrict their ability to pay for a legislator’s expenses.
Other laws taking effect this week include a streamlined concealed carry permitting process for victims of domestic violence; expanded prescription-writing authority for registered nurses; leniency on lesser crimes for victims of human trafficking; and permitting by-the-drink alcohol sales at state parks, if nearby residents approve it.
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.
The reelection campaign of Kentucky Congressman Brett Guthrie reports having over $1.5 million in cash-on-hand.
The Warren County Republican is running for a fourth term in the U.S. House, and is being challenged this fall by Democrat Ron Leach of Meade County. In reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Thursday, Guthrie’s campaign said it raised over $321,000 during the second quarter.
Guthrie’s re-election committee says it has donated about 20-percent of the money raised this election cycle with groups such as the state Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The next Republican nominated for president will take the stage and wave to the crowd in ... wait for it ... Cleveland, Ohio.
That may shock you for any number of reasons, not least being that hardly anyone remembers the last time Cleveland hosted a national convention.
In fact, it was 1936, when the GOP went there to nominate a guy named Alf Landon, who carried exactly two states in November. It was the worst showing by a Republican nominee in U.S. history, which may have something to do with Cleveland's long wait for another try.
Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator is partnering with a Democratic colleague to help low-level offenders wipe their criminal records clean. Republican Rand Paul of Bowling Green and Cory Booker of New Jersey plan to introduce legislation that would encourage states to increase the age of criminal responsibility to 18.
The bi-partisan effort is being called the REDEEM Act, and would automatically expunge the records of juveniles who commit nonviolent crimes before they turn 15 and would automatically seal the records of those who commit them after.
The bill would also create a broad-based federal path for sealing criminal record for adults, with non-violent offenders able to petition courts to make their case.
Paul is considering a run for the White House in 2016, and a new Quinnipiac University poll shows the Kentucky Senator narrowly leading his potential GOP rivals with 11 percent ofthe vote. That’s just ahead of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who had the support of 10 percent of respondents.
A new study suggests that states with high levels of public corruption like Kentucky tend to spend more money on capital construction projects and police protection at the expense of social services.
The journal Public Administration Review found a correlation between states with higher instances of corruption and the scale of a state's spending in certain economic sectors. It also found that between 1997 and 2008, corruption actually inflated a state's total annual expenditures.
"During that time, the 10 most corrupt states could have reduced their total annual expenditure by an average of $1,308 per capita—5.2 percent of the mean per capita state expenditure—if corruption had been at the average level of the states," the study states.
"Moreover, at the expense of social sectors, corruption is likely to distort states’ public resource allocations in favor of higher-potential “bribe-generating” spending and items directly beneficial to public officials, such as capital, construction, highways, borrowing, and total salaries and wages."