Political news

Office of Lt. Gov.

Kentucky’s highest female office-holder is hoping more women will become political candidates.

Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen, speaking to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday,  said a recent study showing Kentucky near the bottom of the nation in the number of women office holders is proof there’s a problem.

The report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranks Kentucky 46th in the nation when it comes to the number of females holding elected office.

“I think women have to work harder to prove themselves. I think often they are considered not to have the strength that a man has, or the power that a man has. And the truth is women are doing everyday an incredibly courageous job of balancing complicated lives and careers.”

Despite her concerns, Luallen said she believes an increasing number of younger women in Kentucky are beginning to believe they can succeed at all aspects of running for office.

“They can raise money successfully, they can convince people to support them—it’s a very, very achievable goal to run for office as a woman.”

No other candidates have requested a review of Kentucky's primary election results.

Tuesday was the last day candidates could ask the secretary of state to review the voting machines and absentee ballots in all of Kentucky's 120 counties. A competitive Republican primary yielded two such challenges, one for governor and the other for agriculture commissioner.

Matt Bevin leads James Comer by 83 votes in a race for the Republican nomination for governor that was too close to call on election night. Comer has not conceded and asked for a review the next day.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky Republicans waiting to see U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell put his arm around his political nemesis Matt Bevin will have to wait a little longer.

Bevin canceled an appearance at the Elizabethtown Rotary Club on Tuesday where McConnell, the Senate majority leader, was the scheduled speaker. And McConnell has said he will not attend the state Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner on Saturday when Bevin will be the featured speaker.

The absences seem to highlight a tense relationship between the state's senior senator and its likely Republican nominee for governor one year after McConnell defeated Bevin in the Senate primary.

A spokesman for Bevin said a scheduling conflict forced him to change his schedule. McConnell said he has to return to Washington on Saturday to prepare for a rare Sunday session to vote on the Patriot Act. Mitch McConnell says he expects to maintain but not grow the U.S. Senate's Republican majority next year.

The Kentucky Republican Party’s website is back up and running after an anonymous group of hackers seized control of it over the weekend. 

The website was hacked by AnonCoders on Sunday and it remained down until Tuesday morning.  An online search of AnonCoders only yielded a Facebook page, which gave little information about the group. 

According to Wikipedia, AnonCoders was created in January and "mostly targets Israeli websites in protest of crimes allegedly committed against the Palestinian people on behalf of Israel."

The reason for the attack on the Kentucky Republican Party website is unknown.  State GOP Chairman Steve Robertson told CN-2’s Pure Politics he doesn’t believe any donor information was compromised since that information is stored on a separate server.

Kentucky earns a “D” grade for political participation among women in a recently released report, but the state’s overall results show a complex landscape.

Kentucky ranks 46th out of 50 states for its number of women holding elected office in the state, according to the Status of Women report released by The Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

But women in the state take advantage of voting rights more than men, the study said.

Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith has been acquitted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

A Franklin County jury took 10 minutes to acquit the Hazard republican on Tuesday following a day-long trial. They did convict him of speeding and fined him $40.

Smith was arrested Jan. 6, the first day of the 2015 legislative session. A state trooper testified Smith smelled of alcohol and that he failed two field sobriety tests. Smith refused to take a breath test.

Smith's defense attorneys played security camera footage from the jail, showing the jury Smith walked without assistance. A convenience store clerk testified that Smith did not appear intoxicated earlier that night.

Smith's attorneys argued earlier this year the charges should be dropped because the state constitution says lawmakers cannot be arrested while the legislature is in session. They later withdrew that request.

Republican gubernatorial candidate James Comer has formally requested a recanvass of the voting machines and absentee ballots from Tuesday’s primary election. The initial results suggest Comer lost to opponent Matt Bevin by only 83 votes.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has set May 28 as the day county boards of election will recheck and recanvass the voting machines.

A recanvass is administrative procedure where precincts around the state re-tabulate their results and send them to the Secretary of State.  The process usually doesn’t yield many more votes—in 2010 Andy Barr requested a recanvass in his attempt to unseat Ben Chandler from his Congressional seat. Barr was down by about fewer than 700 votes and the recanvass yielded only one additional vote.

Still, University of Kentucky election law professor Josh Douglas says that the recanvass could help Comer decide if he wants to pursue a full-fledged recount.

“As long as Bevin’s lead doesn’t increase, if it stays at 83, it won’t surprise me if Comer requests the recount," Douglas states.

Douglas says that a formal recount could show a swing of around 200 votes—well outside the margin of Bevin’s lead.

Comer’s lawyers will be taking an especially close look at the two-thirds of Kentucky counties that use paper ballots and also scrutinizing voter eligibility.

McConnell Will Endorse GOP Nominee for Governor

May 20, 2015

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said he will endorse Kentucky's Republican nominee for governor once the results are official.

Bevin leads state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer by 83 votes out of the more than 214,000 ballots cast. Comer said he plans to ask state election officials to review the results.

McConnell and Bevin went head to head in last year's Republican primary for Senate, one of the few times McConnell has had meaningful opposition in a primary during his 30-year Senate career. McConnell easily defeated Bevin after a contentious campaign. Bevin refused to endorse McConnell publicly after the race, although he did urge Republicans to vote against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general election.

McConnell defeated Grimes and is now the majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

Kentucky LRC

State Sen. Whitney Westerfield has won the Republican nomination for Kentucky attorney general.

Westerfield defeated Lawrence County Attorney Michael Hogan in Tuesday's primary election.

The Hopkinsville lawmaker will face Andy Beshear, the son of Gov. Steve Beshear, in the November election for the job as Kentucky's chief law enforcement officer. Beshear was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Westerfield is a former assistant commonwealth's attorney. He touts his chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Westerfield says he helped shape high-profile legislation to combat heroin addiction, revamp the state's juvenile justice system and allow victims of abusive dating relationships to seek emergency protective orders.

The state's most prominent democrats are rallying behind Jack Conway for Kentucky governor. That sentiment was expressed during a Frankfort gathering Tuesday night, just minutes after the polls closed.

Conway says he's been chomping at the bit to begin a gubernatorial campaign against one GOP opponent. The state attorney general told supporters the key issue is jobs, jobs, and good paying jobs. Conway says he remains ready to go up against Washington republicans and democrats on the issue of coal. "I'm proud to be the only democratic attorney general in the country, who is suing the EPA and trying to stop their job killing coal regulations ladies and gentlemen," said Conway.

The democratic nominee for Kentucky governor could become the first democrat from Louisville in more than a half century to serve in the state's highest office. Conway understands some consider a candidate from the state's largest city a tough sell in rural Kentucky. "I mean a lot of people like to say to me 'hey Jack, you're from Louisville' and I'm like yeah I am, but I'm also one generation removed from a family farm in Union County and that's where my dad grew up,” Conway said. “I'm someone who's been good on sportsman issues. I saved the tobacco payment and got $57 million additional dollars into agricultural diversification in this state."