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New Bevin ad gets his kids involved; McConnell’s portrays him as ‘workhorse’ for Kentucky

By Sam Youngman

syoungman@herald-leader.com

Matt Bevin is making it a family affair, and Mitch McConnell wants Kentucky to think of him as a conservative “workhorse.”

With one month to go until the May 20 Republican primary, both candidates released new ads Monday, although Bevin appears to be running out of time to find traction against the incumbent U.S. Senate minority leader.

Lawsuit claims state Rep. Tom Burch’s opponent doesn’t live in the district

By Jack Brammer

jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT – A Louisville voter filed a lawsuit Monday, claiming that this year’s Republican challenger against longtime state Democratic Rep. Tom Burch is not a qualified candidate because he doesn’t live in the district.

Jim Stammerman alleged in the suit filed in Jefferson Circuit Court that Brian Lyle Krueger does not live in the 30th House District in JeffersonCounty and thus cannot represent it.

Burch, chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee, has represented the district since 1978. He also represented the district from 1972 to 1975.

The suit claims that Krueger actually is a resident of the 46th House District in JeffersonCounty. It asks the judge to order Krueger’s name removed from this year’s ballot as an unqualified candidate.

Krueger could not be immediately reached for comment.

Republicans this year are trying to gain control of the state House for the first time since 1921. Democrats now outnumber Republicans in the chamber, 54-46.

Winter weather wallops state tax dollars

HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU

FRANKFORT –The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spent more than $68 million on snow and ice removal this past winter – about 1.5 times more than a typical winter in the BluegrassState.

“This was an extraordinary year — requiring extraordinary measures — in terms of the amount of salt used on state roadways and the challenges the cabinet faced as the winter pressed on,” Nancy Albright, deputy state highway engineer for project delivery and preservation, said Monday in a release.

The amount of money used to combat snow and ice will result in fewer funds to do some spring maintenance work on state roadways, Albright said.

Maintenance issues that could create hazards on roads if not repaired – such as guardrail replacement, striping and pothole repair – will be top priority, she said.

But maintenance issues such as tree trimming, pavement patching, panel sign repairs and some drainage structure issues may be deferred until funds become available.

“If it’s not critical, it may have to wait,” Albright said.

During the 31 snow and ice events this season, the state’s nearly 2,000 maintenance crew employees worked to keep more than 60,000 lane miles of roads open, the cabinet reported.

The cabinet’s vehicle and equipment fleet includes 1,065 snowplows. In addition, the cabinet can call on 382 contracted snowplow trucks to assist with snow and ice removal.

To keep roads clear, the state spread more than 438,000 tons of salt – compared to 194,000 tons state crews put down on roads last year during a mild winter season.

On average, crews spread between 200,000 and 250,000 tons of salt in a year and spend between $40 million and $45 million. Last year’s snow and ice removal costs were about $42.4 million.

The past winter saw high demands for salt across the country and supplies low at times, which required the cabinet to exhaust its reserve salt pile at the Mega Cavern in Louisville, introduce conservation efforts to preserve salt supplies for an emergency and encourage the 12 Department of Highways districts to share salt supplies as stockpiles dwindled.

While severe, the winter of 2013-2014 fell short of being a record setter in state costs. The winter of 2010-2011 cost $74 million and 450,000 tons of salt.

–Jack Brammer

Stumbo, whose Twitter account jabbed at McConnell, says he was hacked

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg
By Jack Brammer

jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT – House Speaker Greg Stumbo says his Twitter account, which featured some disparaging comments Thursday night about U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, was hacked.

Stumbo tweeted Thursday night after the political tweets appeared on @SpeakerStumbo that the controversial tweets were not his.

“Someone just called me about all the tweets – I’ve been hacked,” he wrote. “I’ll have to change my password. Goodnight, everyone.”

Stumbo spokesman, Brian Wilkerson, said Friday that the office would have no comment on the Speaker’s private account.

Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg, and McConnell, a Republican who is seeking re-election this year, are longtime political adversaries.

From 8:31 p.m. to 8:46 p.m. Thursday, these political tweets appeared on Stumbo’s account:

*To Rich Mitch you sent our young men to war which was useless how about making your military file public? The dead deserve it.

*Check Mitches net worth over these years and @compare it to the average Kentuckian he gained you lost and this why he wants to be reelected?

*Mitch McConnell went to Congress with an average net worth CHECK IT OUT NOW he made millions you went broke

*My God the Republicans who causes the Hoover and Bush/McConnell recessions think people believe them HELLO

‘Comment’ will discuss legislative session; ‘KY Tonight’ will feature U.S. Senate GOP candidates

Kentucky’s 2014 General Assembly will be discussed on this weekend’s “Comment on Kentucky,” while “Kentucky Tonight” will feature seveal candidates in this spring’s U.S. Senate Republican primary election. Both are public affairs shows of the Kentucky Educational Television network.

Joining host Bill Bryant of Lexington’s WKYT-TV on “Comment” will be three journalists — Laura Ungar of The Courier-Journal, Ryan Alessi of CN2′s “Pure Politics,” and Jack Brammer of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The show will air live at 8 p.m. Friday on KET.

On the Monday, April 21 edition of “Kentucky Tonight” at 8 p.m. on KET and at KET.org/live, host Bill Goodman will discuss issues in Kentucky”s U.S. Senate Republican primary with candidates in the race.

Scheduled candidates are Matt Bevin, Brad Copas and Shawna Sterling

Viewers with questions may send e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form at KET.org/kytonight. Viewers may also submit questions on Twitter @BillKET or on KET’s Facebook page, facebook.com/KET. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 1-800-494-7605.

“Kentucky Tonight” programs are archived online, made available via podcast, and rebroadcast on KET and KET KY. Archived programs, information about podcasts, and broadcast schedules are available at KET.org/kytonight. “Kentucky Tonight” is a weekly KET production, produced by Deidre Clark. Goodman is host and managing editor.

–Jack Brammer

State opening office in Pikeville to help startup companies

HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU

FRANKFORT –The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is establishing an office on the University of Pikeville campus to provide assistance to startup companies in the Appalachian region.

“By adding the new office in Pikeville, we will be better able to serve the rapidly growing number of entrepreneurs and small businesses in Eastern Kentucky,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a release.

“Innovation is key to changing the economic landscape in Appalachia and we need to offer small businesses encouragement, guidance and a blueprint for success. I look forward to seeing positive results and hearing more success stories as a result of this new location.

The Pikeville office will operate in the university’s Community Technology Center and will serve nine counties, including Pike, Martin, Johnson, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry, Breathitt and Magoffin.

“Small businesses are the backbone of a sustainable economy,” said UPIKE President James Hurley. “We are excited to participate in this public-private partnership to extend and offer opportunity for economic development. Eastern Kentucky is full of great entrepreneurial leaders and the innovation center provides the platform for ideas to be developed and cultivated.”

The opening of the new office comes weeks after Beshear, Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, community leaders and local residents announced their action plan for eastern Kentucky’s Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Initiative.

Among the initiative’s main goals is to increase business recruitment and incubation in the region.

With the Pikeville location, the Kentucky Innovation Network provides business assistance to entrepreneurs from 13 locations across the state. Formed in 2002 by the Cabinet for Economic Development, the network serves all 120 counties throughout the state from offices in Ashland, Bowling Green, Covington, Elizabethtown, Lexington, London, Louisville, Morehead, Murray, Owensboro, Paducah and Richmond.

Last year, the Kentucky Innovation Network helped support 240 new companies create more than 1,000 jobs and assist businesses in raising more than $100 million in private investments.

The Office of Entrepreneurship within the Cabinet for Economic Development oversees the Kentucky Innovation Network and other services, programs and initiatives to encourage small business growth. The goal of the office is to create and promote a strong culture of entrepreneurship statewide.

For more information on the Kentucky Innovation Network,visit www.kyinnovation.com.

–Jack Brammer

Democrat Elisabeth Jensen raises and spends more than $100K in first quarter

Jensen_barrBy Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

Congressional candidate Elisabeth Jensen ended the first quarter of 2014 in about the same cash position she started after raising and spending more than $100,000 in the first three months of the year.

Jensen, the likely Democratic nominee to face off against Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, continues to lag Barr in fundraising.

Jensen raised more than $126,000 in the quarter, according to the Federal Election Commission website, but she spent almost $105,000 in the same period.

Jensen had just more than $268,000 in cash on hand. She finished 2013 with about $245,000 in cash after making a personal loan to her campaign of $100,000.

Barr raised more than $361,000 in the first quarter and had more than $1.1 million in cash to spend.

In the May 20 Democratic primary, Jensen faces retired Lexington engineer Geoff Young, a former Green Party member. Young said earlier this month that he has lent his campaign $50,000, but there was no fundraising report available for his campaign on the FEC website as of Wednesday morning.

Andy Barr’s first quarter fundraising leaves him with more than $1.1 million

Jensen_barrBy Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr raised more than $361,000 for his re-election bid in the first quarter of 2014, leaving him with more than $1.1 million in cash on hand at the start of spring, his campaign reported Monday.

Barr, R-Lexington, began the year with just more than $900,000 in cash.

During the first quarter, Barr raised more than $257,000 from individuals and about $104,000 from political action committees.

Elisabeth Jensen, the likely Democratic nominee to challenge Barr in November, has not yet released her first-quarter haul.

Jensen finished 2013 with about $245,000 in cash on hand after she loaned her campaign $100,000 and raised $100,000 in the fourth quarter.

Barr challenger runs radio ad praising health care law

Democrat Elisabeth Jensen of LexingtonBy Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

Democratic congressional candidate Elisabeth Jensen embraces the federal health care law pushed by President Barack Obama and Gov. Steve Beshear in her campaign’s first radio ad.

Jensen, who is the likely Democratic nominee to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, released an ad Monday morning that praises Beshear for implementing a Kentucky version of the health care law and blasts Barr and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for threatening to repeal it.

“Thanks to Gov. Beshear, Kentucky Kynect provides health care to Kentuckians who had no insurance,” Jensen says in the ad. “But Barr, along with Mitch McConnell, voted to end Kynect and let insurance companies drop coverage, deny care and charge women more.”

The ad notes that Barr has voted to repeal the controversial health care law 19 times and charges that the congressman has taken $148,000 in contributions from insurance companies.

“I often say Kentucky moms like me get more done by noon than Congress gets done in a week,” Jensen says in the ad. “So when I learned Congressman Andy Barr voted 19 times to repeal health care reform, I was disappointed.”

Kentucky officials said last week that enrollment was surging in the state in the lead-up to the self-imposed sign-up deadline of Friday night.

As of Friday, officials said more than 400,000 people had signed up, with the majority of participants joining Medicaid as part of an expansion of the program ordered by Beshear.

Jensen’s campaign did not disclose how much money it was spending on the ad, which is scheduled to start running in Central Kentucky starting Tuesday.

In the Democratic primary, Jensen faces retired Lexington engineer Geoff Young, a former Green Party member. Young said earlier this month that he has loaned his campaign $50,000.

Click here to listen to the ad.

Mitch McConnell raises $2.4 million, Matt Bevin raises $1.1 million in first quarter of 2014

Matt Bevin, left, is challenging incumbent Mitch McConnell in the battle to be the GOP's nominee in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race.By Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had his best fundraising quarter of this election cycle, pulling in $2.4 million in the first fundraising quarter of 2014.

But McConnell is also spending heavily. His campaign will report $10.4 million in cash on hand, which is down more than $500,000 from the cash position McConnell started the year with.

The McConnell campaign stressed that the spending is not in response to a primary challenge from Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, noting that the majority of expenditures are for the fall campaign.

An ad McConnell’s campaign ran earlier this year featuring Paducah cancer survivor Robert Pierce ran statewide at a cost of more than $840,000.

“Team Mitch has invested early in ground-game infrastructure that will help deliver unprecedented voter contact in Kentucky,” the campaign said in a statement to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Additionally, last quarter, Team Mitch made their first major television expenditure with an ad that media guru Frank Luntz recently called the best of the cycle.”