Politics

Politics
9:11 am
Tue July 16, 2013

With Fancy Farm On Tap in Just Over Two Weeks, Conway is First To Accept Invite

Credit Kentucky News Network

Updated at 9:55 a.m.: 

The Republican Party of Kentucky has confirmed that Senator Mitch McConnell will attend Fancy Farm. In a news release, McConnell challenged his most high-profile Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, to attend the event in western Kentucky as well.

Original post:

So far, the count of prominent speakers for the 133rd annual Fancy Farm Picnicon the 3rd of next month is...  one.  Organizers say the first statewide elected official to accept an invitation to speak is Attorney General Jack Conway.

The AG's expected by many to run for Governor in 2015, but has been a regular at the picnic in recent years anyway.  The event has historically been, since 1880, the place where Kentucky candidates kick off campaigns.

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Politics
7:36 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Yarmuth Predicts Hard-Hitting Campaign by Grimes vs. McConnell

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY)

Kentucky's only Democratic congressman is predicting Alison Lundergan Grimes will run the most aggressive campaign that Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell has seen from a challenger.

Grimes, the state's secretary of state, has kept a low profile since announcing her bid to unseat McConnell next year.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said Monday that Grimes will soon take the fight to McConnell in what's shaping up as the most costly race ever in Kentucky.

McConnell, the Senate's top Republican, got in a recent dig at Grimes, saying she announced her candidacy and went into hiding.

Yarmuth says Grimes is putting together a campaign team but will come out with a hard-hitting campaign.

Yarmuth says McConnell has been "a master at controlling the narrative" of campaigns but won't be able to do so next year.

Politics
10:32 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Kentucky Governor Not Pursuing Murray State Presidency

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s Communications Director says the Governor won’t pursue the Presidency at Murray State University. Beshear has been rumored as a potential candidate during the past few months.

MSU is in the process of hiring a search firm to compile and filter candidates for the job. MSU hopes to hire a new president in spring 2014.  Governor Beshear is in his second term which ends in 2015. The job would’ve offered Beshear a chance to boost his state retirement benefits. The presidential job pays nearly double the Governor’s salary.

There is a precedent for a Governor to assume a university presidential role in the Commonwealth. Former Governor Paul Patton serves as the president of the University of Pikeville. But, U-Pike is not a state supported institution.

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Politics
4:27 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Rand Paul Wants U.S. Aid to Egypt Cut Off

Violent clashes have broken out in Egypt after the military removed President Mohammed Morsi from office.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has introduced legislation that would cut off foreign aid to Egypt. Politico reports the bill is the first in Congress to directly address what many observers describe as a military coup in the north African nation.

For Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green, there’s no debating what happened in Egypt last week. He says President Mohammed Morsi was taken down by a military coup, and under U.S. law Congress can’t provide aid to countries where a democratically elected government has been removed by such an action.

In a statement, Senator Paul accused President Obama of ignoring the rule of law by refusing to call last week’s action a coup, and by continuing the flow of U.S aid to Egypt.

The President this week ordered a review of all aid sent to Egypt.

Paul has previously called on Congress to halt foreign aid to Pakistan, and is a general critic of foreign assistance, saying it’s money better spent at home.

Politics
11:42 am
Thu July 11, 2013

McConnell Adds More than $2 Million to Campaign

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has banked another $2.26 million since April, pushing his overall fundraising total to more than $15 million for the election cycle.

Campaign manager Jesse Benton said those totals, which will be reported to the Federal Election Commission on Friday, put McConnell "well ahead" of the fundraising pace of his 2008 re-election bid when he spent some $20 million.

Benton said the FEC report will show McConnell still has $9.6 million on hand.

McConnell is expected to face a strong challenge from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's 34-year-old secretary of state who announced her candidacy last week.

Grimes, a lawyer from a well-connected Kentucky family, launched her bid with tough words for the 71-year-old McConnell, declaring he has lost touch with Kentucky voters.

Politics
10:56 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Embry: House GOP Leadership to Share Redistricting Proposals Monday with Republican Members

Rep. C.B. Embry is a Republican representing Butler and Grayson counties, and part of Hardin County.
Credit Kentucky LRC

Kevin's interview with C.B. Embry, Jr., of Butler County

A south-central Kentucky state lawmaker says he'll find out Monday what House Republican leaders are proposing for next month's special session on redistricting.

Butler County Republican Representative C.B. Embry, Jr., has a major stake in the new legislative maps that will come out of that session. Embry and two other GOP Representatives--Jim DeCesare of Warren County and Michael Meredith of Edmonson County--were placed in the same district under maps that were passed earlier this year by the House, but rejected by the Senate.

Embry told WKU Public Radio he's not sure next month's special session will be the last word on the redistricting issue.

"I hope this doesn't happen, that the passing of  the redistricting plan might again be unconstitutional and wind up in the courts," said Embry, whose district covers Butler and Grayson counties, as well as part of Hardin County. "If that should happen, I think the courts will draw the lines rather than the General Assembly."

The state Supreme Court threw out maps passed last year by lawmakers, finding that the plans were unconstitutional because they weren't balanced by population. Lawmakers tried, and failed again, during the 2013 General Assembly to get new legislative boundaries passed.

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Politics
2:17 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Senator Paul Wants Answers on Drones, Threatens to Block FBI Director Nominee

Rand Paul (R-KY)

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is telling FBI director Robert Mueller that he will object to the nomination of his successor until he gets answers on domestic drone use.

In a letter this week to Director Mueller, Senator Paul turns up the heat for an explanation of how the FBI uses surveillance drones on U.S. soil.  

“The American people have a right to know the limits that the federal government operates under when using these drones, and whether further action is needed to protect the rights of innocent Americans," writes Paul.

The letter is a follow-up to a previous letter sent on June 20 that asked for a response by July 1.  Senator Paul states in his latest correspondence that until he gets adequate answers to his questions, the Kentucky Republican will object to the nomination of James Comey as the next FBI director and encourage his colleagues to the do the same. 

Drone use is a hot-button issue for Paul, who in March, filibustered for 13 hours the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan over the use of domestic drones.

Politics
9:45 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Aide to Sen. Rand Paul Criticized for Inflammatory Views

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

An aide to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is coming under fire for his political views on race relations and more.

According to a report in The Washington Free Beacon, Jack Hunter, who co-authored Paul's first book and now serves in his Washington office, worked as a radio personality in South Carolina in the '90's using the name "The Southern Avenger". In that capacity, he expressed sympathy for President Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, said slavery was not the cause of the Civil War, bashed Hispanic immigrants, and advocated secession for South Carolina.

He did repudiate some of his more controversial statements in the Free Beacon story, saying it was his job back in his radio days to "provoke and inflame", but that he now abhors racism and advocates equal protection under the law for all people. The story notes he did not rule out his support for secession.

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Politics
3:58 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Beshear Didn't Know in Advance of Grimes' Campaign

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes recently announced she was entering Kentucky's 2014 U.S. Senate race.

Kentucky Governor Steve says he wasn't given a heads up before fellow Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes announced her U.S. Senate bid last week. But he says he doesn't see it as a slight.

The governor said Tuesday he's eager to help Grimes in her effort to unseat five-term Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. Beshear himself lost a Senate race to McConnell in the 1990s.

Beshear and Grimes' father are former political rivals. And Grimes defeated the governor's appointee in winning election as Kentucky's secretary of state two years ago.

Beshear said he didn't get the customary notification of Grimes' intention to run before she called a news conference to announce it.

But the governor says he had already pledged his support in any way possible.

Politics
10:35 am
Tue July 9, 2013

McConnell, Republicans Beat Grimes to the Punch Online

Kentucky Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes

Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is losing the online war in the effort to unseat Republican Mitch McConnell.

The first two websites that display following a Google search for the term “Alison Lundergan Grimes for Senate” Tuesday were websites set up by groups aiming to defeat her next year.

The groups behind the two sites paid Google advertising revenue in order to have those websites appear at the top of page, something that is a common practice.

The first return is a website that looks like an official site for Grimes, but is operated by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Featuring a picture of Grimes next to a picture of President Obama, the site declares the 34-year-old Secretary of State is “not ready” for the U.S. Senate, and contains links to media reports critical of last week’s event in Frankfort where Grimes announced she was entering the Senate race.

A “donate” button at the site links to a page where contributions can be made to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The second website displayed following a Google search for the Grimes Senate campaign is a site run by the McConnell re-election campaign that urges viewers to sign an online petition opposing what it calls President Obama’s “war on coal.”  

Grimes has an official Senate campaign website, but it does not appear until the third page of a Google search.

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