politics

Trump Picks Up Fundraising Momentum In Kentucky

54 minutes ago
Thinkstock

For the first time this election season, Kentuckians gave more in a single month to Republican nominee for president Donald Trump than to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The GOP candidate raised $75,387 in June from individual Kentucky donors, according to new data from the Federal Election Commission. The former U.S. secretary of state raised $73,153 during the same time period.

The June haul represents a major shift for Trump, whose meager Kentucky fundraising had trailed behind all other major Republican candidates, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. In each of the first four months of the year, Trump never raised more than $9,000.

But in June Trump more than doubled his total pull from the commonwealth. He has raised a total of $130,049 since March 2015 in the state, while Clinton has garnered $783,046.

Abbey Oldham, PBS Newshour

Kentucky’s Secretary of State says Americans can expect a big contrast between this week’s Democratic National Convention and last week’s Republican gathering in Cleveland.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is speaking at her party’s convention in Philadelphia. She told WKU Public Radio Democrats will offer a more positive view of the U.S. than the one described by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“You’re going to see people from all across this nation, and importantly, our nominee, that believe America is already great. And we need a President that recognizes that, and will build upon that—unite people, not dividing them with hateful rhetoric.”

Grimes called Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a role model and friend for more than 24 years. The Clinton family is close with Grimes and her family, including Jerry Lundergan, Grimes' father and former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Grimes' mother, Charlotte Lundergan, is a superdelegate pledged to support Clinton.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton will break the penultimate glass ceiling this week — becoming the first female nominee of a major American political party.

It's a historic milestone that's been obscured by Donald Trump's chaotic convention and, now, on the eve of the Democratic convention, the resignation of the DNC chairman following the leak of 20,000 emails showing that the DNC had its thumb on the scale for Clinton. The Clinton campaign blames the leak on the Russians, who they say are trying to put their thumb on the scales for Trump.

Whew!

Here are 5 things to watch in Philadelphia this week:

How unified will the Democrats be?

The Wikileaks email dump threatened to upend the careful truce worked out between the Sanders camp and Clinton campaign. But it has led to a huge victory for Sanders. He got Debbie Wasserman Schultz's head on a platter. Sanders has had a terrible relationship with Schultz. He even endorsed her primary opponent. Did Schultz's resignation satisfy the Sanders forces? Or will they have a demonstration or a walkout on the floor of the convention, presenting an image of a party almost as divided as the GOP? The answer may come Monday night when Sanders addresses the convention. Will he wholeheartedly and enthusiastically back Clinton? If he does, that will go a long way to unifying the party.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is Hillary Clinton's choice for her vice president, giving her a running mate with experience at all levels of government to round out the Democratic ticket.

Clinton told supporters the news in a text message and a tweet on Friday evening just after 8 p.m. ET. According to a Clinton campaign official, the former secretary of state called Kaine this evening to make the formal offer.

In recent days, Kaine had emerged as the favorite — albeit safe — pick for Clinton, over other finalists such as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

According to the Clinton campaign official, their vetting process first began back in April with more than two dozen potential running mates. Kaine and Clinton campaigned last week in Northern Virginia as a tryout of sorts, and Clinton walked away impressed and comfortable with him as a partner. The two met with aides and then one-on-one for a total of about 90 minutes that night.

Last Saturday, the Kaine and Clinton met together with their families for lunch at the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, N.Y. She remained comfortable with Kaine as someone who could do the job, and the alliance was made.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will speak to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week.

Grimes was one of dozens of speakers added to the agenda on Thursday. The secretary of state is in her second term in office, having narrowly won re-election in November.

Grimes gained national prominence in 2014 for her challenge to veteran U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. McConnell won the race and would go on to become Senate majority leader.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaigned for Grimes several times in her Senate campaign. The Clinton family is close with Grimes and her family, including Jerry Lundergan, Grimes' father and former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Grimes' mother, Charlotte Lundergan, is a superdelegate pledged to support Clinton.

Evan Vucci/AP

For all those who view the nominating conventions of the major parties as overly scripted, predictable and boring, Wednesday night's session of the Republican National Convention came as a jolt.

The third night of this extravaganza had all the usual hoopla — plus a blackout on the jumbo screens, delegates screaming at each other, and a major presidential candidate getting booed off the stage.

Not since the parties and their nominees began carefully scripting these quadrennial affairs a generation ago have we seen such an outburst of dueling egos and counterproductive emotion.

Did we say we wanted more sense of drama? Imagine two famous actors involved in a climactic scene, each fired with his own ambition and working furiously to upstage the other. Now envision such a clash playing out before thousands of delegates and onlookers and millions of TV viewers and voters.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the first- and second-place finishers in the GOP's primaries and caucuses, went at it once more with the whole world watching. The high stakes of their brinkmanship brought to the flashpoint all the anger and tension pent up in this convention over three days — and in this party over several decades.

John Locher/AP

After a night spent hammering Hillary Clinton, Day 3 of the GOP convention is being billed as a day where party leaders will lay out "the Republican vision for a new century of American leadership and excellence."

A bevy of political heavy hitters — Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio; Govs. Scott Walker and Rick Scott — will tee up the day's headliner: The Republican vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

The theme of the night? "Make America First Again."

With that, here's a list of speakers as detailed by the Republican Party:

Gov. Rick Scott, Florida

Laura Ingraham, radio host

Phil Ruffin, businessman, a casino mogul.

Asma Khalid/NPR

It's no secret Donald Trump is struggling to woo Hispanics voters. He's currently polling worse with Latinos than Mitt Romney in 2012 (In that election, Romney captured just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote).

But on Wednesday night, the Trump campaign might have a chance to shift its messaging ever-so-slightly when three Hispanic Republicans take center stage during primetime. Two of them are familiar faces from the primary season; former GOP presidential candidates - Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco (who will deliver a video message.)

The other man, Ralph Alvarado, is a little known state-senator from Kentucky.

Alvarado, 46, is also a doctor and a delegate for his home state. And in 2014, he became the the first Hispanic elected to state office in Kentucky.

In an interview at the Quicken Loans Arena between floor speeches, Alvarado took some time to chat about Trump, Hispanics, and the Republican party.

Lisa Autry, WKU Public Radio

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, immediately following a video message from Donald Trump, who thanked the audience for voting for him to be the presidential nominee for the Republican Party.

“I am here to tell you Hillary Clinton will say anything, do anything, and be anything to get elected president,” McConnell said. “You know that if Hillary is president, we’ll continue to slide, distracted by the scandals that follow the Clintons like flies.”

McConnell was booed by some delegates both times he took the stage Tuesday night. He was also booed on Monday evening when Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus put McConnell’s name forward to act as temporary convention chairman.

McConnell didn’t talk much about Trump during his speech, though he asserted that the newly-minted nominee would sign legislation that the Republican-dominated House and Senate have pushed in recent years.

Abbey Oldham, PBS Newshour

Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he hopes speakers at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland reach out to the nation’s immigrants.

Paul told WKU Public Radio he hopes the GOP sends the message “that our party is welcoming to all people, no matter where you came from, or where you immigrated from. That we look at immigrants seeking freedom and prosperity as assets to our country, and that we’re the party of opportunity, and the party that wants to alleviate poverty through the creation of jobs.”

The Bowling Green Republican says he disagrees with statements made by his party’s presumptive presidential candidate, Donald Trump, about banning all Muslim immigrants from entering the country.

In December, the Trump campaign issued a statement saying the candidate was “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Following Melania Trump's speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention, several social media users pointed out a section that was startlingly similar to one the country has heard before — it came from current first lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

It is, of course, common for political speeches to be filled with platitudes like both women used — values, morals, getting what you want in life. But comparing the two speeches, the overlap amounts to more than passing similarity of a few phrases.

The section of Trump's in question is one minute long, and about half of the words in it are the same as Obama's.

The parts that are the same have been bolded by NPR below. The videos begin playing at the comments that are in question.

Melania Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention:

Erica Peterson

There are lots of factual ways to describe coal: carbon-rich, abundant, fossil fuel. But Republicans would like to add one more to the list: clean.

In the national GOP’s draft platform — leaked earlier this week — the party lays out its position on a number of issues, including the role it believes coal should play in America’s energy production. The share of U.S. electricity produced by coal is at the lowest point in more than half a century; in 2015, it accounted for 33 percent of U.S. electricity generation.

Coal’s recent problems have been numerous: It’s getting harder to reach reserves in Appalachia, it’s facing competition from cheaper natural gas, and utilities are choosing to retire older coal-fired plants rather than update them to comply with new environmental regulations.

But the Republican draft platform doubles down on coal.

Creative Commons

Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh is launching a bid to again represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate.

Bayh announced Wednesday that he would seek to make the political comeback. Two days earlier, former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill cleared the way by withdrawing as the Democratic nominee.

Bayh complained of the partisanship and gridlock when he left the Senate in 2010, but says he “can no longer sit on the sidelines.”

Bayh ‘s return boosts the chances of Democrats to win the seat held by Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who is retiring.

National Democrats pushed for Bayh to enter the race, seeing him as having a better chance to defeat GOP candidate U.S. Rep. Todd Young as Democrats seek to gain the four or five seats they need to win Senate control.

Wilfredo Lee/AP

The lingering chasm between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her chief primary rival was bridged Tuesday, with Sen. Bernie Sanders teaming up with Clinton at a campaign event, where he formally endorsed Clinton's bid for the White House.

"Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that," Sanders said. "She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.

"I have come here today not to talk about the past but to focus on the future. That future will be shaped more by what happens on Nov. 8 in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world. I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president."

The Sanders endorsement ends a lengthy — and awkward — period in which many were wondering if and how he would back Clinton. Five weeks ago, Clinton, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, became the first woman in American history to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination to head the ticket of a major party.

J. Tyler Franklin

Donald Trump will be back in Kentucky Monday for a private fundraiser hosted by a well-known coal magnate and a GOP moneymaker in Lexington.

According to the Associated Press, it will cost individuals $1,000 to attend a reception and $5,000 to get a photo taken with the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

The fundraiser comes as Trump is trying to quell GOP fears that he’ll be outmatched by the well-financed campaign of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump only started holding fundraisers in late May and has put up uninspiring fundraising numbers for most of his presidential campaign.

But in June, according to his campaign, Trump raised $51 million — more than all previous months combined. Clinton raised $68.5 million in June.

Pages