politics

"Regular order" is a phrase you'd normally hear only from Congress nerds, but it's increasingly common in conversations about the Senate this year.

When Mitch McConnell became Senate majority leader, he promised he'd restore what he called regular order in that chamber. But Democrats have been accusing him of violating regular order ever since.

When you listen to senators talk about regular order, it sounds like this fabulous, amazing thing. For Republican John McCain of Arizona, regular order is about getting stuff done.

Updated at 12:03 p.m. ET

President Obama says he wants to work with Congress to "replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America," in remarks that came hours after the release of his $3.99 trillion budget proposal, which is already drawing criticism from Republicans.

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Ending speculation about her immediate political future, former U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says she will run for re-election as Kentucky’s secretary of state. Grimes announced her decision Monday at a press conference in Lexington.

“Today I come before you and I ask you to humbly give that same faith and trust to continue to be your voice. It’s with excitement, it’s with energy that I tell you today I will be filing paperwork for reelection as Kentucky’s Secretary of State.”

Grimes was also considering a run for Kentucky Governor and Attorney General in 2015.

Grimes lost to Sen. Mitch McConnell in a grueling race for his U.S. Senate seat last year. Democrats had initially hoped she would oust McConnell from his seat, which he has held for five terms.

Final polls before the election suggested a close race, however Grimes lost by more than 15 percentage points in the final returns. She won the Democratic primary for that race with 77 percent of the vote.

So far, Grimes is the only Democrat to file to run for Secretary of State. Republican businessman Stephen Knipper has also filed for the position. The filing deadline is Tuesday.

The Kentucky General Assembly has wrapped up the first week of the 2015 session, leaving committees with numerous bills to review.

Chairs for the health and welfare committees in both chambers have set their priorities for the remainder of the 30-day session.

Sen. Julie Raque-Adams, a Louisville Republican,  said the committee she chairs will take a critical look at the Medicaid expansion, plus efforts to promote healthy living and protect vulnerable populations.

Democrats and Republicans have selected candidates who will campaign to fill a vacant Kentucky state Senate seat.

Democrat Walter Blevins resigned from the position last Sunday after  being sworn-in as Rowan County’s Judge-Executive.

Voters in the 27th District will choose between Democrat Kelly Caudill and Republican Steve West when they cast ballots March 3.

Caudill is an attorney from Maysville who says his top priorities as state Senator would be boosting economic development in the district, as well as increasing spending for public education and supporting laws that fight drug abuse.

West is a Bourbon County real estate attorney and cattle farmer. If West wins, the GOP will extend its already sizable advantage in the state Senate, which currently stands at 26-11.

The 27th District Senate seat covers Bourbon, Fleming, Harrison, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, Robertson, and Rowan counties.

Kentucky State Senator Whitney Westerfield,a Republican from Hopkinsville, might put his name in the currently unopposed race for Kentucky Attorney General. Westerfield said he doesn’t want current candidate Democrat Andy Beshear to be Kentucky’s only option.

FRANKFORT — The first day of the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2015 legislative session kicked off with a flurry of activity.

Demonstrators flooded into the Capitol rotunda. Constitutional officers and elected officials of every stripe filled statehouse hallways, and both the Senate and House convened at 12 p.m. in their chambers to elect their leadership and open the books on another year.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the Prestonsburg Democrat who has held the post since 2009, is up for election by his caucus members.

Governor Steve Beshear's image as a Democrat able to govern the red state of Kentucky has earned him a position on the newly appointed Democratic Victory Task Force.

The Democratic National Committee, which announced the group's membership Thursday, hopes it can help position the party to win future elections.

DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced the initiative shortly after Democrats suffered significant losses during last month’s midterm elections. The group is being told to review and assess the Democratic Party and its related organizations, and find ways that the national and state parties can better perform during, but not limited to, future midterms.

Beshear has earned a national reputation as a conservative Democrat who has been able to win and govern in a state where President Obama remains extremely unpopular. In announcing his participation in the task force, the DNC lauded Beshear for implementing the statewide health benefit exchange known as kynect and cutting the state government workforce to its smallest size in 40 years.

The other nine members of the Democratic Victory Task are:

When Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) first entered politics in the 1960s, he started out as moderate — pro-abortion rights, pro-union, in support of the civil rights movement. With time, McConnell shifted to the right as the Republican Party shifted.

"I was just really startled by this when I started looking into it," Alec MacGillis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I knew that he had started out as somewhat more moderate — but I didn't realize just how moderate he really was."

Mitch McConnell isn’t the only Kentucky Senator basking in the afterglow of Tuesday night’s election results.

Rand Paul is using the election as an opportunity to criticize the woman many consider to be the next Democratic Presidential front-runner: Hillary Clinton.

Sen. Paul says he won’t formally decide on whether or not to launch a 2016 presidential bid until next spring. But the Bowling Green Republican is acting the part of a White House contender, and judging from recent comments, he firmly believes Hillary Clinton is his biggest obstacle to winning the presidential contest.

Paul has wasted no time in describing Tuesday night’s Republican victories around the nation as a “repudiation of Hillary Clinton.” In speeches and interviews following the election, Paul has pointed out that the former First Lady and New York Senator campaigned on behalf of several Democratic Senate candidates who ultimately lost—including Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky.

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