politics

J. Tyler Franklin

Republican Sen. Rand Paul has won reelection to his seat, defeating Democratic challenger Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington.

Paul won all but seven of Kentucky’s 120 counties.

In his victory speech, Paul quoted the rock group Pink Floyd and said government needs to get out of the way of individuals’ creativity.

“The goal should be to set you free,” he said. “To leave you alone. To have a government so small you can barely see it.”

Paul is at the end of his first term in the Senate. He was part of a crowded field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president but suspended his campaign at the beginning of this year.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky is officially a deeply Republican state after the party secured a majority of seats in the state House of Representatives during elections on Tuesday. The GOP will now have control of the state House, state Senate and Governorship.

House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover said the election was a victory for conservatives in the state.

“Today, Kentuckians made their conservative values heard loud and clear,” Hoover said at an election party in Louisville. “While rejecting the out-of-touch policies of liberal Democrats.”

Lisa Autry

Welcome to our live election blog, where we'll be covering races from across our listening area all day long.

Our news team will begin sharing election results as soon as they become official when all polls in Kentucky have closed at 6 p.m. central/7 eastern time.

NPR’s live national coverage starts an hour later, at 7p.m. central.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

What You Need To Know Before You Hit The Polls

Nov 8, 2016
WKU Public Radio

Election Day is upon us. WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting will be watchdogging the polls and on the lookout for any irregularities or issues that may pop up. (And we could use your help).

If you, like us, are hoping for a seamless Election Day, there are several things you should know before you pull the lever, punch those buttons or fill out your ballot.

WHERE DO I VOTE?

Use your name and birth date to look up your polling precinct location and legislative district here.

The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you’re in line at 6 p.m., you can still vote: The precinct sheriff goes to the end of the line and stays there until everyone in front of him/her has voted.

Kentucky spans two time zones and voting hours apply to your local time zone.

Aside from the cliches that it all comes down to turnout and that the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day, one more truism that talking heads will repeat endlessly Tuesday is that demographics are destiny.

It may make you want to throw a shoe at the TV (or radio), but (as they say) cliches are cliches for a reason. Breaking the electorate into these smaller chunks tells a lot about what people like and dislike about a candidate, not to mention how a rapidly changing electorate is changing the fundamentals of U.S. presidential politics.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates were both bad-mouthing Washington as they toured the state's largest media markets on the eve of the general election.

In Lexington, Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul predicted "a big, big year for conservatives" Monday because he said Kentuckians are "sick and tired of big government."

In Louisville, Democrat challenger Jim Gray said people are "exhausted with the gridlock and dysfunction," and said the only way to change Washington is to "change the people we send up there."

Paul is seeking a second term in the U.S. Senate following his failed presidential campaign last year. Gray, the mayor of Lexington, is hoping to become the state's first openly gay U.S. senator.

Paul appeared with U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, while Gray campaigned with former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

Election Day is nearly upon us. So where does the electoral map stand? It's a close race, with Hillary Clinton retaining a broad and consistent but shallow advantage, according to the final NPR Battleground Map.

Compared with a couple of weeks ago, when Clinton hit her peak lead, the race has tightened. So our map reflects that — almost all of the moves benefit Trump, though because of one potentially determinative move, Clinton still surpasses the 270 electoral votes needed to be president with just the states in which she's favored.

WKU Public Radio

When Kentucky goes to the polls Tuesday, more than 300,000 potential voters will find themselves on the sidelines.

They all have a felony conviction. The vast majority, about 240,000, have finished their sentences. Almost 70,000 of them are black.

Unless Kentucky law is changed, their criminal records will almost certainly keep them from the voting booth forever.

Most states give felons their right to vote back when they leave prison, or finish the probation or parole term tied to their conviction. But Kentucky is one of three states, along with Florida and Iowa, still clinging to a permanent ban. Here, only a stroke of the governor’s pen can restore that right.

LRC Public Information / Bowling Green city government

Kentucky Republicans say this could be the year.  The GOP once again has its sights set on taking control of the state House for the first time in nearly a century.

One of the races in play is the 20th District which includes a portion of Warren County.  The two candidates are offering voters the choice between seniority and change.

At a recent event celebrating the expansion of the Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University, State Representative Jody Richards shook hands with many of those in attendance.

"How are you?  Doing alright today? Good to see you."

In fact, go to any public event in Warren County and Richards is sure to be there.  Richards is a 40-year incumbent and a fixture in Democratic politics.  His challenger is Republican Melinda Hill.


J. Tyler Franklin

A future state representative is taking issue with Gov. Matt Bevin’s recent comparison of sexually aggressive comments made by Donald Trump to rap music, video games and movies.

Attica Scott, a former Louisville Metro councilwoman, said Bevin’s comments were out of line for the governor’s office. Scott said for the governor to compare Trump’s remarks bragging about sexually harassing and groping women to anything “is inappropriate.”

“What does this say for me as a woman going to serve in Frankfort when our governor is willing to make excuses for a candidate for president and the way in which this candidate feels comfortable violating women’s bodies, bodies like my own,” she said.

On the Terry Meiners show on WHAS Tuesday, Bevin said that Trump’s comments bragging about groping and sexually harassing women were offensive, but then said critics of Trump’s language were hypocritical because they consume “the very same type of trash in movies and music and video games.”

Bevin specifically highlighted those who listen to rap music, read “Fifty Shades of Gray” and play the video game “Grand Theft Auto.”

Grimes Predicts 60 Percent Voter Turnout On Tuesday

Nov 2, 2016
Creative Commons

Kentucky’s top election official estimates 60 percent of the state’s registered voters will cast ballots on Tuesday.

Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said that’s on par with the turnout from the 2012 presidential election, when 59 percent of registered voters cast ballots. In 2008, the turnout was 64 percent.

Grimes said 47,000 people have cast in-person absentee ballots, up from 37,000 at this same time four years ago. The state has also issued 39,700 mail-in absentee ballots, of which 26,000 have been returned.

A record 3.3 million people are registered to vote in Tuesday’s election. For president, in addition to the Democratic and Republican candidates, Kentucky voters will have 23 registered write-in candidates to choose from. Elections are also scheduled for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and state legislative seats.

Rob Canning

Gov. Matt Bevin has finally responded to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments bragging about harassing and groping women with impunity. The governor criticized the Republican presidential candidate and also those who consume “the very same type of trash in movies and music and video games.”

During an appearance on Terry Meiners’ WHAS radio show on Tuesday, Bevin said Trump’s comments were foul, vulgar and “shouldn’t have any place in public discourse.” But, he said, many people who were outraged by the comments are hypocritical.

“The same hypocrites that are supposedly outraged and offended by this are the very same people that I guarantee you were first in line to go watch ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ to see if it was as trashy as the book they’d read,” Bevin said in the interview.

“They probably listened to rap music on their way home to go play ‘Grand Theft Auto’ with their kids and be encouraged to take other equally vulgar actions in language,” he said. “It’s the hypocrisy of it that I’m offended by.”

Paul (photo provided) Gray (Jim Gray for US Senate)

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray accused U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of having “wild-ass” ideas in their first and only face-to-face debate of the election year. The at times freewheeling event underscored the candidates’ differences on foreign policy and economic values.

Paul repeatedly tried to tie Gray to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, who are both unpopular in Kentucky.

“The mayor’s endorsed both of these candidates, so it makes it very difficult for him in Western Kentucky or Eastern Kentucky to convince people that he’s for them when he’s for these regulations that have been killing their jobs,” Paul said.

The hour-long debate, which was televised live on KET, took place about a week before Kentuckians go to the polls on Nov. 8.

Gray is in his second term as mayor of Lexington. Paul is at the end of his first term in the Senate. He also sought the Republican nomination for president but dropped out of the race earlier this year.

Jeff Young | Ohio Valley ReSource

One look at the recent arrivals shelf at Carmichael’s Books, in Louisville, and I knew something was up. Titles like “White Rage,” “White Trash,” and “The End of White Christian America” were piling up.

“And then this has been the surprise,” Carmichael’s co-owner Michael Boggs said, picking up another hardcover. “This actually hit the ‘Times’ bestseller list: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ by J.D. Vance.”

Boggs has been in the book business nearly four decades, so he’s seen publishing trends come and go. This trend is built on something that hits close to home.

“I think we’re talking about white working class disappointment at what their lot has been,” he said. “Being ignored or being ridiculed, really.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Lurking beneath the headlines of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s bids for president, there’s a battle waging for Kentucky’s state House of Representatives. Democrats have much to lose — it’s the last legislative chamber controlled by the party in any Southern state. Republicans have everything to gain — if they net four more seats, they’ll have power over the entire legislative process in Frankfort.

This has all happened before. Republicans crusaded for control of the state House in the 2014 and 2012 elections but came up short. And though Republicans have trounced Democrats in most federal races for about 20 years now, the state still has a preponderance of Democrats registered to vote and recent House elections have still shown Democratic bastions in rural parts of the state.

GOP leaders say this year is different because they fielded candidates in 91 of the 100 House district elections. And they say they have momentum after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s election last year, along with the advantage of having the state’s chief executive on fundraising duty for the state GOP and local candidates.

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