Politics

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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.

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.

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.

Paul Still Has Ballot Quandary in Kentucky

Nov 10, 2014

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The big headline from last night's midterm elections is that Republicans walloped the Democrats, cashing in on enormous discontent about the state of the country to pick up seven Senate seats and wrest control of the chamber.

That, of course, sets up divided government for the next two years: a Democratic president and a GOP-controlled legislature.

Here are six tidbits that tell the story:

Democrats Maintain Control of Kentucky House

Nov 4, 2014
Kentucky LRC

Update 3:05 a.m.

Democrats wound up keeping 54 of the 100 seats in the Kentucky House, the same number they had going into the election.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Democrats "are very lucky and blessed" to keep control of the House. Stumbo said he'll ask the Democratic majority to re-elect him speaker, the House's top leadership position.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover said he too will run again for his leadership position.

Three incumbents, two Democrats and one Republican, lost to challengers Tuesday. The Democrats included Jimmie Lee of Elizabethtown who had been in the House since 1993. He lost to Republican newcomer Jim DuPlussis of Elizabethtown.

Posted 10:30 p.m.

Kentucky Democrats will retain control of the state's House of Representatives.

Election results were still pouring in late Tuesday, but unofficial results show that the House would not flip parties.

State Republicans had sought to end nearly a century of Democratic control in the House and complete a takeover of the General Assembly.

Democratic House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook believes U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergran Grimes helped bring Democrats to the polls.

"She's stayed strong at the top of the ticket and there's no question that's helped our candidates down the ticket for her to be at the top of the ticket," Adkins said. "And Mitch McConnell's had to concentrate his effort on Alison Grimes instead of concentrating his efforts on us so with her at the top of the ticket its been a big plus for us."

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