It's safe to say this isn't the start Alison Lundergan Grimes--or her supporters--had in mind when they envisioned their effort to take out Kentucky's powerful senior U.S. Senator, Mitch McConnell.
Grimes ended months of speculation Monday afternoon when she announced she will seek the Democratic party's nomination for the 2014 Senate race. But in doing so, she raised as many questions as she answered.
One of Kentucky's best political reporters, Ryan Alessi of cn/2's "Pure Politics", says supporters who met with Grimes in Frankfort Monday before she announced her decision described the meeting as "unorthodox,” “unprecedented,” “fascinating” and, at times, “surreal.”
According to Alessi, Grimes seemed to be undecided on whether or not to run during the pre-announcement meeting, and asked those in attendance what they thought she should do. After meeting for nearly an hour, the consensus formed that Grimes should run for Senate.
Kentucky Democrats have lined up what they hope will be a formidable candidate to take on powerful Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in next year's campaign.
Ending months of speculation, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Monday afternoon that she will enter the 2014 U.S. Senate race.
“I’m here today to tell you that I have met with my supporters, we have had a great conversation and determined and decided that we can next make the best move, the best difference in the Commonwealth of Kentucky by running for the U.S. Senate,” she said.
Speaking in Frankfort to a room of supporters and reporters, Grimes said Kentuckians are tired of McConnell and what she described as his "28 years of obstructionism." She also chided McConnell for voting against increases in the minimum wage and for "losing touch with Kentucky issues, voters, and values."
Referencing the length of time it took for her to formally declare her entrance into the Senate contest, the 34-year-old Maysville native said she wasn't willing to join the race until she had done all of her homework.
“Make no mistake, members of the media, this due diligence was not reluctance, it was not hesitancy,” she said, “but rather a deliberate gathering of all the necessary facts to make a decision that’s not to be taken lightly.”
The announcement started more than 30 minutes later than it was scheduled, and lasted less than five minutes. Grimes answered only a few questions from reporters before leaving the stage.
Grimes has been Secretary of State since 2012. Before that, she was an attorney in Lexington. Grimes comes from a well-connected political family. Her father, Jerry Lundergan, served as chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he’s hoping to show people in the early presidential primary state of South Carolina that he can appeal to a broad audience.
Paul spoke with The Associated Press prior to a Friday trip to South Carolina, home to the South’s first presidential primary balloting.
The 50-year-old freshman Republican and tea party favorite’s name is frequently mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential contender, and he’s made recent trips to other early primary states including Iowa and New Hampshire. He’s spending some time in South Carolina raising money and meeting with tea party-leaning groups.
State GOP chairman Matt Moore says South Carolina voters are eager to hear Paul’s conservative message. Moore says the state will host other potential 2016 White House hopefuls in the coming months.
A three-judge panel has denied a request for a stay in two lawsuits asking that judges redraw legislative boundaries in Kentucky.
The motion for a stay was sought by Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who says it's the General Assembly's job to set the boundaries.
Gov. Steve Beshear has called a special legislative session starting Aug. 19 to deal with the issue.
In writing for the three-judge panel, U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove acknowledges the Legislature has the primary responsibility to redraw the boundaries and says the court won't interfere. But he says the court has the secondary responsibility to redraw the maps should the legislature fail.
He says a stay would interfere with the court's duties.
The panel also set a trial in the case for Sept. 23.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has suggested that Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage will move the country closer to accepting marriages between people and animals.
A spokeswoman for the Bowling Green Republican insists the Senator was being sarcastic.
Paul’s comments came during an appearance on Glenn Beck’s radio program. Beck asked the Kentucky Senator if the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act would eventually lead to the legalization of polygamous marriage. Paul responded by saying, “I think it’s a conundrum. If we have no laws on this, people take it to one extension further, does it have to be humans, you know?”
U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he has sympathy for Edward Snowden, the man who leaked information on the National Security Agency's surveillance operations.
In Bowling Green this week, Paul was asked how history will judge Snowden, who's facing espionage charges. Sen. Paul said Snowden never lied to anyone, unlike National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who lied under oath to Congress.
“He says 'I lied in the name of national security.' On the other hand, Edward Snowden told the truth in defense of privacy, but broke his national security clearance. When you work in government you take a pledge not to reveal secrets, but you also take a pledge to the Constitution," explained Paul. "The question becomes 'Is it a type of accepted civil disobedience to break your security pledge in defense of the Constitution?'"
If it turns out he leaked secrets to foreign governments, Paul said Snowden would be judged harshly, but history would judge him kindly as a defender of privacy.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he won't support a comprehensive immigration reform bill that's up for a vote this week in Washington. The Bowling Green Republican told WKU Public Radio on Monday that one of the problems he has with the bill is that it doesn't allow for an expansion of work visas.
"A lot of people come here to work, then they move to another job," Paul remarked. "They come here to pick crops, then they take a construction job. This bill doesn't let them switch from agriculture to construction. It actually puts new caps on those numbers, and because of those caps, I think that's the drive for illegal immigration."
Senator Paul sponsored an amendment that would have required Congress to vote annually on whether the border with Mexico was secure. With the amendment's defeat, Paul says he can't vote for the bill. His concern continues to be that a pathway to citizenship would be put in place regardless of whether border security has been achieved.
Paul predicts the immigration bill will clear the Senate, but die in the more conservative House.
Kentucky Republicans hope to narrow their deficit in the state House while Democrats aim to keep a seat they've held for years as voters in a central Kentucky district prepare to elect a new state representative.
The three candidates in the 56th District are spending their last full day of campaigning Monday ahead of Tuesday's special election.
Vying for the seat are Democrat James Kay, Republican Lyen Crews and independent John-Mark Hack.
They are competing to replace Democrat Carl Rollins, who resigned in the spring to take the top job with the state student financial aid agency.
The district in the heart of bluegrass country includes Woodford County and parts of Fayette and Franklin counties.
Republicans hope to edge closer to Democrats, who hold 54 of the 100 House seats.
The top federal prosecutor in Louisville has been recused from an ongoing investigation into the secret taping of a private campaign recording between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his aides earlier this year.
U.S. Attorney David Hale says was recused from the case by the Justice Department after his name had been mentioned publicly as a possible contender for a federal judgeship. McConnell has a vote on judicial nominations.