Political news

With Kentucky’s gubernatorial primary four months away, candidates are beginning to line up endorsements.

Kentucky’s AFL-CIO chapter officially endorsed Democratic candidate and Attorney General Jack Conway Tuesday. Republican candidate and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has been endorsed by former Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning.

Another GOP candidate, former Louisville Council Member Hal Heiner, this week aired the first television ad of the 2015 election cycle.

The spot touts Heiner’s experience in private business and says he would fight against federal mandatessuch as Obamacare and the Common Core educational standards.

Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott is also running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Secretary of State and former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says she’s considering several options, including running for governor, attorney general , and a second term as Secretary of State.

Presidents often characterize the state of the union as "strong." Last year, in fact, President Obama remarked: "It is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong."

It seems whatever the crisis du jour is, the State of the Union address is a chance for the president to sneak in some optimism. In 2012, as the economy limped back, Obama still found occasion for the s-word: "The state of our union is getting stronger. And we've come too far to turn back now."

Grimes Campaigns for Statewide Office, but Which One?

Jan 19, 2015
Kentucky Secretary of State's Office

Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she will run for statewide office this year.

The former Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate said she has been encouraged to run for governor, attorney general and to seek re-election as Secretary of State. Grimes said she has not decided what she will do yet but that she will file for office before the Jan. 27 deadline.

On Monday, Grimes attended the Alpha Phi Alpha Unity Breakfast in Lexington with former state Sen. Georgia Davis Powers. With a campaign photographer in tow, Grimes worked the room of about 1,500 people before leading the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Freedom March.

Grimes lost a closely watched U.S. Senate race in November to Mitch McConnell, who now leads the new Republican Senate majority.

Kentucky News Network

A group of pastors has endorsed Republican Hal Heiner in the 2015 Kentucky governor's race.

Heiner appeared with several pastors outside of the Lyman T. Johnson Middle School on Friday to endorse the former Louisville metro councilman for his push to allow public charter schools in Kentucky.

Heiner officially announced his candidacy last March but has kept a low profile since then in deference to the November elections for the U.S. Senate and state House of Representatives. He said Friday's event was the kickoff for his public campaign for governor. He is scheduled to speak to the Kentucky Association of Chiropractors on Saturday.

Republican James Comer plans to officially file for governor on Thursday. Former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott filed earlier this week.

A new Iowa poll shows Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in the middle of the pack of possible Republican contenders for the White House in 2016. 

The Courier-Journal cites a poll by Gravis Marketing that shows former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in front with 21 percent support.  Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush comes in second in the poll with 14 percent approval.  Next are Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with ten and nine percent support, respectively. 

Senator Rand Paul was favored by eight percent Iowa Republicans who were surveyed.  Behind Paul were Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio. 

The poll was conducted January 5-7 and questioned 404 registered GOP voters.  The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points. 

Senator Paul has made several trips to Iowa while exploring a run for president.  He continues visiting other early-voting states.  This week, the Bowling Green Republican visited New Hampshire.

Mediator Sought in Legislative Sexual Harassment Case

Jan 14, 2015
Jonathan Meador

The Legislative Research Commission wants a mediator to be appointed in a sexual harassment case brought by two female staff members.

The commission's attorney filed a motion Monday in Franklin County Circuit Court saying an impartial mediator would help resolve the case.

Two women brought the case in late 2013 against the LRC and former Democratic state Rep. John Arnold of Union County, alleging they were sexually harassed by Arnold and that the LRC failed to protect them from Arnold.

Arnold and the LRC have denied the allegations. Arnold resigned from the House in 2013, and the Legislative Ethics Commission later reprimanded him and fined him $3,000 for violations of the legislature's code of ethics.

Scott Opens Race for Governor by Backing Expanded Gambling

Jan 13, 2015

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Will T. Scott has selected former sheriff Rodney Coffey as his running mate and has endorsed expanding gambling as a way to raise money to meet Kentucky's public pension obligations.

Scott introduced the former Menifee County sheriff as his running mate at a campaign kickoff Tuesday in Louisville.

The ticket matches two eastern Kentuckians, but Scott says his ideas will appeal to voters statewide.

Scott, a Pike County native, endorsed a constitutional amendment legalizing casino-style gambling. He said most of the money should be earmarked to pay down the state's unfunded pension liabilities.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear made expanded gambling a centerpiece of his campaigns but has been unable to get gambling legislation through the General Assembly.

Scott also made a pitch for charter schools in his announcement.

State Officials say Kentucky is on Pace to Meet Budget

Jan 12, 2015

Kentucky's chief budget officer said the state is more likely to avoid a shortfall after solid growth in tax collections through the first six months of the fiscal year.

State Budget Director Jane Driskell said the state's money from income and sales taxes and fees grew $5 million in December. So far, Kentucky's general fund revenue has increased 3.5 percent from last year through December. The state's $9.8 billion spending plan assumes the state's revenues would grow 3.6 percent by the end of June.

Lawrence County Attorney to Run for Attorney General

Jan 12, 2015

Lawrence County Attorney Michael Hogan says he will run for Kentucky Attorney General. 

Hogan's announcement sets up a GOP primary against state Sen. Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville, who filed for the office on Friday. 

The 46-year-old Hogan was re-elected in November to a fourth term as Lawrence County attorney. He has a law degree from Northern Kentucky University and is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves.  Hogan said he decided to run for office because he was tired of the Attorney General's office being a stepping stone for people who want to be governor.  He pledged to be a strong advocate for county attorneys and local prosecutors. 

Meanwhile, Andy Beshear, son of Governor Steve Beshear, is the only Democrat so far to enter the race for attorney general.

WKU Public Radio

Democrat Jack Conway has officially filed to run for governor.  The Attorney General filed candidacy papers with the Secretary of State's office Monday morning.

Conway announced his candidacy several months ago and has raised more than$1.3 million. But today’s filing officially puts him on the ballot for the May 19 Democratic primary. 

Conway is the second person to file for Kentucky governor.  Former congressional candidate Geoff Young filed in December. It's unclear if other top Democrats will challenge Conway for the nomination. House Majority  Floor Leader Rocky Adkins is considering a run but has not made a decision.

Candidates have until Jan. 27 to file for the race. At least three Republicans have said they will run, but none has filed yet.