9:55 am
Thu November 13, 2014

McConnell Chosen as Senate Majority Leader

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky
Credit WKU PBS

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has been chosen by fellow Republicans to become Senate majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January. 

A Senate GOP official says McConnell was elected by acclamation today at a closed-door meeting of the rank and file.

As majority leader, McConnell will set the Senate's agenda. Along with House Speaker John Boehner, he will decide what legislation is sent to the White House in the final two years of President Barack Obama's term.

The 72-year-old McConnell was elected to a sixth Senate term last week in elections in which Republicans gained a majority for the first time in eight years.

6:21 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Long-Time State Legislator Giving Up Leadership Post

Kentucky House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark says he won't run for the leadership post he's held since 1993.

The Louisville Democrat, who was re-elected for the 18th time last week, also said he's likely to retire at the end of his two year term. Clark has represented the 46th legislative district for more than 30 years and has been second in command for the Democratic majority for more than two decades.

In a letter to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Clark said he decided not to seek re-election as speaker pro tem because he thought it was a good time for someone else to learn the job while Democrats still control the House and the governor's office. Democrats maintained their eight seat majority after last week's elections.

Democratic Governor Steve Beshear's term ends in January of 2016.

4:44 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Mitch McConnell's Mission: Making The Senate Work Again

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky walks to his office to meet with new GOP senators-elect at the Capitol on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 4:46 pm

At 72, after 30 years in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell has finally realized his life's ambition.

He never wanted to be president — he just wanted to be Senate majority leader. And when he ascends to that perch come January, McConnell will finally have a chance to shape the chamber he says he deeply loves. McConnell declared his first priority will be to make what's been called a paralyzed Senate function again. But the politician who became the face of obstruction over the past four years will have to persuade Democrats to cooperate.

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6:18 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Q&A: Lamar Alexander On Education In The New Congress

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., waves after speaking to supporters on Nov. 4 in Knoxville.
Wade Payne AP

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 1:45 pm

Higher education, preschool funding, the Common Core and the future of No Child Left Behind are just a few of the education policies that will be in play under the new Republican-controlled Congress. How will these things change? We called Sen. Lamar Alexander to ask.

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3:11 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Paul's Presidential Plans Slowly Coming to Light

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY

U.S. Senator Rand Paul is still mum on a presidential run, but the Bowling Green Republican has worked behind the scenes for months laying the groundwork for 2016, having visited 35 states during the mid-term election season. 

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator has repeatedly said an announcement won’t come until spring, but according to those close to him, the decision has already been reached.  In an interview published Monday by Politico, advisers say they expect the campaign to be a ‘go’ by mid-April with an announcement shortly after as soon as his staff can organize a fly-around to early-voting states. His campaign would likely be headquartered in Louisville.  Paul and his political team have scheduled a lengthy closed-door meeting Wednesday at a Washington  hotel to discuss his future plans. 

Within the next few weeks, Paul is expected to announce his re-election bid for the U.S. Senate, a race he is likely to run simultaneously with a presidential campaign.  Kentucky law prevents a candidate from running for more than one office at a time, but aides claim they have found several ways to get around the law that includes possibly changing the state’s GOP primary to a caucus.

11:56 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Paul Still Has Ballot Quandary in Kentucky

Sen. Rand Paul

Update 1:32 p.m. CST

Politico reports that Sen. Paul's team believe they may have found a workaround to the law preventing the Bowling Green Republican for running simultaneous campaigns in 2016.

Original Associated Press story:

The Republican tidal wave that swept Democrats out of office nationwide didn't solve U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's potential quandary in Kentucky.

The Tea Party favorite could become entangled in a state election law if he runs for president and another Senate term in 2016.

Legislation aimed at tweaking the once-obscure law to ensure Paul could appear on Kentucky's ballot for both offices simultaneously easily passed the GOP-led Kentucky Senate this year. But the measure died across the Capitol in the House, where Democrats are in charge.

Democrats hung on to their House majority despite a strong GOP challenge in this month's election.

That's left the first-term senator and his supporters looking for other potential options.

1:12 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Beyond The Ballot: Tuesday's Winners And Losers

From left, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks at an event hosted by the Iowa GOP Des Moines Victory Office on August 6, 2014; former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton campaigns for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) on November 1, 2014; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stands with Florida Governor Rick Scott as they make a campaign stop on October 16, 2014. (Scott Olson; Stacy Revere; Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 1:06 pm

Tuesday night belonged to the Republicans. Not only did they gain control of the Senate, but they upped their majority in the House and picked up several governorships, including in several staunchly blue states — Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois.

But beyond the Republican Party and the winning candidates, who else fared well — and not so well — on Tuesday? Here & Now’s Robin Young talks to NPR’s Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving about the winners and losers of the 2014 midterms.

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12:36 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Poll Finds Limited Support For Potential Grimes' Gubernatorial Run

Alison Lundergan Grimes delivers a concession speech outside the Carrick House in Lexington on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 next to her husband, Andrew Grimes, and Governor Steve Beshear
Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

What’s next for Alison Lundergan Grimes? It’s a question some have been asking since the Secretary of State’s loss Tuesday night to incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.  A Bluegrass Poll taken a week before the election suggests voter enthusiasm is tepid with regards to Grimes running for Kentucky governor next year.  The poll found 33 percent of respondents wanted her to run.  Fifty percent did not and 17 percent said they weren’t sure.

Attorney General Jack Conway is the only Democrat to enter the race so far.  Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and businessman Hal Heiner have entered the race on the GOP side.

9:46 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Kentucky's Lieutenant Governor Tapped for Obama Administration Job

Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson
Credit Lieutenant Governor's Office

Jerry Abramson is resigning as Kentucky's lieutenant governor to become Deputy Assistant to President Obama and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the White House.

Governor Steve Beshear announced Abramson's resignation, effective November 13, Thursday at the state Capitol.

“This is a bittersweet moment for me and for our administration. Jerry and I have been friends for more than 30 years, and I chose him as my Lieutenant Governor because I knew that his extensive experience as longtime mayor of Louisville, his contagious enthusiasm and his knack for building momentum around new ideas would make him a great partner in leading our state,” said Gov. Beshear. “But the White House noticed all those skills, too, and realized that he will take those same gifts and put them to work on our nation’s domestic agenda. He will be an outstanding addition to the President’s administration, and we will miss him terribly.”

Abramson will serve as a liaison to state and local governments.

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2:44 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Preview of '16? Rand Paul Uses GOP Wins to Criticize Clinton

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Bowling Green

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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