A man who once wrote that he celebrates the birthday of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth has resigned from the staff of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Jack Hunter served as Paul’s director of new media and was a credited writer on Paul’s 2011 book “The Tea Party Goes to Washington.” Hunter also went by the nickname, the “Southern Avenger”, and in 2005 wrote that he raises “a personal toast every May 10th to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.”
Speaking Monday in Louisville to a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Sen. Paul said Hunter had become a “distraction”, and confirmed that Hunter was no longer a staff member. Hunter has recently said that statements he previously made as a radio and online pundit do "not accurately reflect me.”
In less than a month, Kentucky lawmakers are back in Frankfort for a special session on redistricting, but there are no plans yet to resolve another issue facing the state.
There's been no movement on comprehensive tax reform since a commission chaired by Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson offered recommendations last fall. The group suggested raising the cigarette tax, expanding the sales tax, and allowing local governments to levy a sales tax on special projects.
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says modernizing the tax structure doesn't seem to be on anyone's agenda.
“I’ve never even spoke to Lieutenant Governor Abramson about the recommendations," Stumbo claims. "He’s never come by to explain to me and as far as I know he’s not been explaining them to other members of the general assembly, or very few members of the general assembly I would say.”
Stumbo says lawmakers are resistant to make tax changes because "somebody pays more and somebody pays less." Regardless, the House leader says tax reform must be accomplished. He says as the nation's economy grows, states continue to lag behind, and he blames that on tax structures that are not fully linked to the modern economy.
When Senator Mitch McConnell faces off against prospective general election opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes at this year’s Fancy Farm Picnic on Aug. 3, it will be the first time the Republican has squared off against his Democratic challenger this far in advance.
Director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues Al Cross says McConnell had one such opportunity in his first bid for re-election, and didn’t take it.
“In 1989, looking ahead to 1990, Harvey Sloane, the Jefferson County Judge Executive was openly running against McConnell. And McConnell did not give him the opportunity of a face-off that far in advance," remembers Cross.
McConnell’s last opponent, Bruce Lunsford didn’t declare his candidacy until very late in the election cycle. Cross expects the showdown at Fancy Farm will be “no holds barred” with Grimes looking to energize the Democratic base, and McConnell linking Grimes with President Barack Obama.
Some county clerks have complained about a fundraising request they received this week from Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's chief election official who is running for U.S. Senate against Republican Mitch McConnell.
The email went to people who had signed up to receive email notices from Grimes' Senate campaign - and apparently some who had not.
Oldham County Clerk Julie Barr, a Republican, said she was surprised to receive the solicitation. Barr, president of the Kentucky County Clerks Association, said she considered it inappropriate because Grimes has oversight of county clerks on elections.
Grimes political adviser Jonathan Hurst said the email was intended only for people who had requested campaign updates. He suggested that political opponents might have signed up people unaware.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is distancing herself from President Barack Obama on the issues of coal and health care.
Grimes, who is seeking her party's nomination to challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in next year's election, told reporters Thursday that she disagrees with Obama's philosophy on coal. Griimes said she would work to protect coal jobs if elected.
Grimes also said there were many problems with the federal health care overhaul championed by the president. But she called efforts to repeal the health care law a waste of taxpayer money.
Grimes spoke to reporters in Louisville after giving a speech to a large gathering of county leaders from across Kentucky. She announced her candidacy earlier this month.