Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has refused seven times in the past seven days to say whether or not she voted for President Barack Obama for president.
Grimes was asked three times by a Herald-Leader reporter after an event on Oct. 2 if she voted for Obama, ignoring the question and turning her back on the reporter asking it.
On Thursday, Grimes refused four times to tell The Courier-Journal’s editorial board if she voted for Obama.
“You know, this election, it isn’t about the president,” Grimes said when first asked if she voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
After being asked the third time, Grimes responded: “I was actually a delegate for Hillary Clinton, and I think that Kentuckians know I’m a Clinton Democrat through and through. I respect the sanctity of the ballot box, and I know that the members of this editorial board do as well.”
At that point, a member of the newspaper’s editorial board said: “So you’re not going to answer?”
FRANKFORT — In their efforts to take over the state House this year, Republicans have lost a candidate.
Mark Wilson of Louisville has withdrawn from the race against Democratic incumbent Jeffery Donahue of Fairdale in the 37th House District in south-central Jefferson County.
Wilson could not be reached for comment but Jefferson County GOP Chairman Nathan Haney said Thursday that Wilson expected to come off military active duty at the end of this year but recently learned that he would not.
“The military had other orders for him that would prohibit him from being in the legislature,” Haney said.
Donahue joined the House last year.
Reublicans hope to gain control of the state House for the first time since 1921 at the Nov. 4 polls. Democrats now control the chamber with 54 members, compared to 46 for Republicans.
By Jack Brammer
A memorial service in Lexington has been scheduled for Larry Van Hoose, a gubernatorial press secretary, aide to congressmen and director of the state Republican Party who died last month in Cape Coral, Fla. He was 76.
The service will be Nov. 1 at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home at 3421 Harrodsburg Road.
Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. and a memorial program will start at 10:30 a.m.
Van Hoose, after working as a stringer for Sports Illustrated, was press secretary and aide for Republican Louie B. Nunn, who was governor from 1967 to 1971.
After working in the Nunn administration, Van Hoose was executive director of the Kentucky Republican Party before becoming chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Larry Hopkins of Lexington. He later worked for other Republican congressmen, including Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, Martin Hoke of Ohio and J.D. Hayworth of Arizona.
Van Hoose was preceded in death by his wife Martelle. He is survived by two sons, Todd and Howard, and two grandchildren.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s campaign for governor raised $397,539 in the last three months, bringing his total fundraising to about $1.15 million since entering the Democratic primary earlier this year.
Conway’s campaign also reported late Monday that it had about $1 million on hand.
“Great results for two straight reporting periods show the strength of our campaign and that we are uniting Democrats behind our ticket for the 2015 governor’s race,” Conway said in a statement.
Conway said he and his running, state Rep. Sannie Overly of Paris, “remain focused on the Kentucky House races and Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign for U.S. Senate” this fall.
He added: “Sannie and I will begin the process of building out our campaign after the November elections.”
Conway’s campaign noted that Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, as an incumbent in 2009, raised a little more than $1 million during his first two reporting periods and had $784,054 on hand.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – A national group focused on electing Republican state legislators has started sending out hard-hitting mailers to help the GOP try to gain control of the Kentucky House for the first time since 1921.
Jill Bader, communications director for the Republican State Leadership Committee, said in an email Monday that the group has “consistently named the Kentucky House as top of our targets for a pick up this year.”
Republicans now control 60 of 99 legislative chambers in the country, including the Kentucky Senate.
Bader also said the RSLC, based in Washington, D.C., has begun “a significant six-figure multi-platform independent expenditure, starting with mail, that began this weekend in support of gaining the House majority” in Kentucky.
Democrats now control the Kentucky House with 54 members, compared to 46 for Republicans.
The RSLC has spent more than $1 million on legislative races in Kentucky since 2008. It spent more than $400,000 in Kentucky during the 2010 election cycle and more than $355,000 in 2012. The group spent more than $200,000 in Kentucky last year and expects to top its previous spending record this year.
The first two mail pieces from the RSLC in Kentucky House races this fall involve two tough races in Western Kentucky.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear is suggesting that Kentuckians curb domestic violence by donating their used cell phones and accessories.
Beshear, first lady Jane Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and his wife, Madeline Abramson, kicked off a monthlong drive Wednesday to collect the old phones.
Verizon Wireless has agreed to turn the devices into a cash grant for WorkSafe, a collobarative program of the Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Commission on Women and The Mary Bryon Project, to provide domestic violence prevention training for businesses.
WorkSafe will distribute restored phones to domestic violence clients and give each up to 3,000 free minutes of usage.
At news conferences in Lexington, Frankfort and Louisville, the Beshears and Abramsons said the drive will run Oct. 1 through Oct. 31.
Special collection boxes marked HopeLine will be available at 18 state agencies throughout the state, at University of Kentucky sororities and Verizon stores. Phones from any provider will be accepted.
So far this year, Verizon has given grants of more than $108,000 for domestic violence prevention in Kentucky.
HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear has asked President Obama to issue a major disaster declaration and provide emergency assistance to four Eastern Kentucky communities recovering from recent flooding.
Strong storms from Aug. 19 to 23 caused heavy rain and flash flooding, which washed out roads and forced people from their homes throughout the eastern part of the state. Communities in Floyd, Knott, Johnson and Pike counties were the hardest hit.
“These severe storms and subsequent flooding caused widespread destruction to the state and community infrastructure in Floyd, Knott, Johnson and Pike counties, as well as to private homes,” Beshear said in his letter.
“I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments. Federal assistance is necessary to supplement the efforts and available resources of the state, local governments, disaster relief organizations and compensation by insurance for disaster-related losses.”
Beshear is seeking the declaration “so that the requested federal assistance programs will be available to meet the needs of the communities in the affected areas.”
A preliminary damage assessment by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicated that the damages exceed $6 million for this disaster.
This is the first disaster declaration request Kentucky has made since a swath of tornadoes caused heavy destruction in eastern Kentucky in March 2012.
Kentucky has had 11 federal disaster declarations since 2008.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — A Japanese metalworking company is to open its first North American plant in Corbin, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Monday at a Capitol news conference.
Kowa Kogyosho Co., based in Nagoya, Japan, plans to create 30 jobs by April 2018 and invest $8.3 million into the project at the Corbin Regional Speculative building in the city’s Southeast Kentucky Business Park.
It will provide metal surface treatment for automotive suppliers, through a highly advanced process known as electroless nickel plating.
“Kentucky welcomes Kowa as its newest corporate citizen, one that will significantly enrich the southeastern Kentucky region as well as the entire state,” Beshear said with several Kowa and state and local officials.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has preliminarily approved tax incentives of up to $600,000 for the company through the Kentucky Business Investment program.
The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
The finance authority also approved the company for tax benefits up to $50,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act. It allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on constructions cots, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.
Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes said Kowa Kentucky Inc. will have to meet certain standards to get the incentives but he said all of them – like wages paid – have not yet been determined.
He said Kowa wants “to grow their business in the United States.”
The company hopes to begin commercial production in January 2016 with about 10 employees and then grow.
Company officials stressed that it is a clean company and will cause no pollution.
Knox County Judge-Executive J.M. Hall, Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney and Bruce Carpenter, executive director of the Corbin Economic Development Agency, said they welcome Kowa to southeast Kentucky.
The area is hungry for jobs. The unemployment rate in Knox County is 10.7 percent.
Toshio Muguruma, president of Kowa Kogyosho Co., Ltd., said the company was looking in the Knoxville, Tenn., area to build its first North American plant and selected Corbin.
HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — Sarah M. Jackson, who has been head of the state agency that enforces state campaign finance laws since 1999, is to retire Nov. 1.
Craig C. Dilger, board chairman for the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, announced Jackson’s retirement Thursday at a board meeting.
“Sarah has been a tremendous asset to the agency and a true professional as executive director. The agency is stronger for it,” Dilger said in a release.
Jackson, 57, was general counsel for the state Cabinet for Workforce Development from 1998 to 1999 and was director of the Division of Charitable Gaming in the Justice Cabinet from 1996 to 1998. She was the division’s assistant director when it started in 1994.
Jackson was an assistant attorney general from 1982 to 1986 before joining the law firm of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie and Kirkland in its Frankfort office.
The registry board appointed Rebecca Feland of Lawrenceburg, the agency’s budget analyst, to be interim director until a permanent director is hired.
Dilger said the search process will take several months.
Fact-checkers at The Washington Post and PolitiFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times, have been busy researching the claims made by Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidates (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes) and their surrogates during the first 17 days of September. Here’s what they found.
A television ad aired by the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, which the Washington Post described as “an independent group with connections to Republican strategist Karl Rove,” earned three Pinocchios (the equivalent of mostly false) from Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler on Sept. 17. The ad claimed Grimes is a “proud supporter of Obama’s amnesty plan.” But Kessler says this:
Grimes certainly supports a bill that would prove a pathway to citizenship for undocumented aliens, as does Obama. Whether this is “amnesty” is in the eye of the beholder. But this was not a bill crafted by either Obama or Grimes, but a coalition of Republicans and Democrats–an unusual example of bipartisan cooperation in this period of intense partisanship.
Moreover, the bill that emerged from the Senate set tough rules for that pathway — including denying access to virtually all federal means-tested benefits. In doing so, the bill largely met criteria set by donors and supporters of the very organization that is now blasting Grimes on this issue. It is bizarre and hypocritical for this group to now falsely attack Grimes for supporting a middle ground approach that its supporters once championed.
A spot aired by Senate Majority PAC, which the Washing Post said is “affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.,” also earned three Pinocchios from Kessler on Sept. 9. The ad claims that “Mitch McConnell has been tragically wrong about foreign trade deals. They have cost Americans over half a million jobs. Kentucky is still losing jobs, and McConnell is still voting to give companies tax deductions for outsourcing. Mitch said it is not his job to create jobs. The least he could do is stop sending them away.” But Kessler says this:
The under-the-radar nature of this ad suggests that Senate Majority PAC hoped to slip this political stiletto past the media and the fact checkers — or that the organization is somehow embarrassed by its own message. But the fact remains that NAFTA was championed by both Democrats and Republicans, and objective studies have found its overall impact to be modest. Kentucky has both gained and lost jobs because of globalization — and there is no evidence McConnell is trying to “send them away.”
McConnell’s voting record:
An ad by the Grimes campaign that makes several claims about McConnell’s voting record and personal wealth also got three Pinocchios from the Post on Sept. 5. Here’s what Kessler concluded:
This ad, on balance, just narrowly avoids getting Four Pinocchios. While it is correct that McConnell has often voted against boosting the minimum wage, for philosophical reasons, most of the other claims is the ad are false, misleading or lacking important context.
Corporate tax breaks for outsourcing:
On Sept. 12, PolitFact gave a “mostly false” ruling to a claim in the same Grimes ad that McConnell voted “three times for corporate tax breaks that send Kentucky jobs overseas.” PolitiFact concluded:
The ad makes it seem like McConnell voted to approve corporate tax breaks that incentivize outsourcing. Actually, he voted “no” on legislation that would have eliminated the standard business expense deductions — which exist for all businesses — for costs associated with outsourcing. (Current law includes no provision that specifically addresses insourcing or outsourcing.) These bills had little chance of passing, and they were largely symbolic.