5:00 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Thousands of Election Workers Needed in Kentucky

Kentuckians are being encouraged to serve as precinct workers for the November 4 election.

"You have to be a qualified Kentucky voter, 18 by election day, and not have changed your party affiliation in the last year, and not  be a candidate or a family member of a candidate," says Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Precinct workers will receive training and compensation.  Kentucky has more than 3,600 precincts statewide and at least four workers are needed at each precinct, which requires about 15,000 workers. 

Those interested in working the election should contact their county clerk’s office.

4:56 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

McConnell, Grimes Differ on Marijuana

Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit WKU Public Radio

Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates agree growing hemp is a good thing for the state, but they differ about the cannabis plant's cousin, marijuana.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes told a radio interviewer on Thursday that she favors having a discussion to reclassify marijuana, especially for medical purposes. She criticized Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell for not wanting to have those discussions.
McConnell said Friday he opposes the legalization of marijuana in all circumstances, including for medical purposes. He said legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message to a country that he says should be fighting drugs.

About a dozen Kentucky farmers harvested the state's first commercial hemp crop in decades earlier this week. McConnell and Grimes have said they support

2:01 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Sen. Paul, Republicans Rallying Behind 'Religious Liberty'

Sen. Rand Paul

Leading Republicans are rallying around "religious liberty" at home and abroad as religious activists gather for a weekend conference.

The annual Voters Value Summit begins Friday in Washington with speeches from several prospective presidential candidates. The lineup includes Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Organizers expect participants to unite around what they call President Barack Obama's attack on religious liberty, instead of focusing on divisive social issues.

The intraparty debate over social issues has broad implications on the GOP's struggle to improve its brand ahead of the November elections and the 2016 presidential contest. The Republican National Committee released an internal audit last year calling for party leaders to be more "inclusive and welcoming" on social issues.

4:33 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Guthrie Supports President Obama's Plans To Stop ISIL

Second district Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie calls the members of ISIL "evil people that need to be stopped.

Speaking in Bowling Green, Guthrie said he supports Obama's actions fighting ISIL in Syria, especially bringing in other countries to join the fight. He said he wants to see "their boots on the ground, not our boots on the ground."

The Bowling Green Republican held a late afternoon Town Hall meeting at WKU's Carroll Knicely Center Wednesday; he'll hold one more next week in Edmonson County.

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5:41 am
Wed September 24, 2014

TV Spending for State Races Much Different in Kentucky, Tennessee

A new survey says Kentucky ranks next to last in the amount of TV ad spending for state races.

The nonpartisan Center for Integrity estimates candidates for Kentucky state House and Senate races have spent just $4,600 so far on TV ads this cycle, slightly more than was spent in North Dakota. But state Republican and Democratic leaders say they expect the TV spending to increase over the next few weeks as Republicans attempt to take control of the House for the first time since 1920.

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3:57 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

WKU Event Recruits Youth Voters

WKU Political Science Major Kimberly Adkins helped registered students to vote in the November 4 election.
Credit Lisa Autry

Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, a time aimed at registering citizens to vote in the upcoming November 4 election. 

In Bowling Green, Kimberly Adkins manned a voter registration table on the WKU campus.  The senior political science major is immersed in politics, but realizes many fellow students are not.

"They feel like their voice doesn't matter and their vote doesn't count," said Adkins.  "A lot of young people are tired of the partisan bickering and they just tune it out."

Freshman Leslie Brown will vote for the first time in a national election this November.  She hasn't followed Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, and admitted not knowing the names of the candidates. 

"I have no idea," she laughed. 

Brown said she planned to study up before November 4.

"As young people we need to vote and we need to have a voice because that's the only way it's ever going to get heard is if we vote," Brown added.

There are approximately 670,000 youth in Kentucky, ages 18-29.  While jobs and student loan debt weigh heavily on the minds of college students, most will stay home November 4 if history is any indicator.  Young people made up just 13% of overall voters in Kentucky during the 2010 mid-term election, according to the National Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement based at Tufts University.

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8:59 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Thayer Rules Out 2015 Run for Statewide Office

Kentucky State Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown
Credit LRC Public Information

The second-in-command of the Republican-controlled Kentucky Senate won’t seek statewide office next year. 

State Senator Damon Thayer says he’s been encouraged to run for Secretary of State or Auditor, but will instead seek another term as Majority Floor Leader.

"I really enjoy working with my fellow Republican caucus members right now to help move Kentucky forward and I think that's the best place where I can be of the best use for the commonwealth of Kentucky, and it's what's best for my family at this time," Thayer told WKU Public Radio.

Thayer, a Georgetown Republican, says he is optimistic that the GOP can take control of the House in November.  If that happens, Thayer says he looks forward to advancing Republican priorities such as right-to-work, charter schools, and pro-life legislation.

Democrats have maintained control of the Kentucky House since 1921 and currently hold a narrow eight-seat advantage. 

2:01 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Kentucky Political Parties Post Fundraising Totals

Kentucky's two major political parties raised close to $1 million combined in August leading up to the pivotal November elections.

The Kentucky Democratic Party reported it raised more than $498,000 in August. The party that controls the state House and the governor's office has raised more than $1.3 million in 2014 and has a little over $474,000 in cash available.

The Republican Party of Kentucky raised more than $455,000 in August. The party that controls the state Senate and all but one of the of the state's federal offices has raised more than $2 million in 2014 and has $2.1 million in cash available.

The Nov. 4 election will determine Kentucky's U.S. Senator and which party controls the state House.

6:11 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Heroin Emerges as an Issue in Kentucky Senate Race

Kentucky's increasing heroin problem has taken center stage as an issue in political advertising in the state's Senate race.

Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign is running radio ads across the state criticizing Republican Mitch McConnell for not taking a stance on a state bill that would've increased penalties for heroin traffickers. The ad says McConnell thinks solutions only come from Washington.

The McConnell campaign called the ad misleading. They noted McConnell was named Federal Legislator of the Year by the Kentucky Narcotics Officers' Association and said McConnell was able to expand a fedral anti-drug trafficking program into Jefferson and Hardin Counties. The program pays officers overtime to investigate drug traffickers.

Heroin overdose deaths in Kentucky increased to 230 in 2013 from 22 in 2011, a 945% increase in just two years.

5:37 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Kentucky Legislative Calendar Set

State lawmakers will return to Frankfort on January 6th following the November elections for a legisltive sessionn that will last 30 legislative days.

Lawmakers will elect leaders and organize committees until January 9th before returning February 3rd to consider legislation. Republicans are expected to retain control of the state senate but Democrats hold a narrow majority in the House, where Republicans hope to take control for the first time since 1920.

State legislators are scheduled to adjourn for the year on March 24th. Lawmakers will take a two week break beginning March 10th while Governor Beshear considers possible vetoes.

The legislature will meet for 30 legislative days instead of 60 because they don't have to pass a budget.