By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is predicting only 10 percent voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election.
Grimes, the state’s chief election official, said a review of absentee data from county clerks and historical turnout for similar elections indicates that about 10 percent of the 3.1 million people registered to vote in Kentucky will go to the polls Tuesday.
Races in play are for governor and the state’s other constitutional offices.
In 2011, the last election for statewide constitutional officers in Kentucky, 10.35 percent of voters went to the polls for the primary, said Grimes.
About 17 percent of the Kentucky electorate voted in the 2003 primary election, which is the last time there was not an incumbent candidate for the office of governor.
As of May 11, she said, 3,388 voters had voted absentee on machines in county clerks’ offices and 3,586 absentee ballots had been mailed to voters.
Grimes urged voters to prepare to vote on May 19 by checking their polling places and viewing sample ballots.
HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — Nearly 3.2 million Kentuckians are registered to vote in the May 19 primary election — the most ever, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Monday.
The total number of registered voters – 3,175,905 – beats the 3,147,157 registered for last November’s general election held in November 2014.
The difference is an increase of approximately 1 percent, or 28,748 voters, over five months.
“I am excited to see that more and more Kentuckians are registering to vote, and I hope these newly registered voters will exercise their right and responsibility to vote in the primary election,” said Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election official.
Of the registered voters, 2,923,556 are affiliated with either the Republican or Democrat party, making them potentially eligible to vote for partisan offices, including statewide constitutional officers, on the primary ballot.
Both political parties have seen an increase in registered voters since the May 20, 2014, primary election and since 2011, the last election year for statewide constitutional officers, Grimes said.
Democrats currently make up 53.09 percent of Kentucky voters, while 38.97 percent are Republicans. 7.94 percent of voters are identified as “Other.”
Approximately 53 percent of registered voters are women and 47 percent are men, which is consistent with the 2014 election cycle.
“As Kentucky’s chief advocate for civic engagement, I hope all eligible voters will head to the polls and vote on Election Day,” said Grimes. “There are various methods for registered Kentuckians to vote, including going to the polls on May 19, voting in county clerks’ offices before Election Day, or casting a mail-in absentee ballot, so I urge all Kentuckians to know their options and make their voices heard.”
Voters may access the Voter Information Center (VIC) on the State Board of Elections’ website to confirm their voter registration status, view sample ballots, and locate their polling place.
For complete registration statistics, additional election information, or to access the VIC, visit elect.ky.gov.
“Kentucky Tonight,” a weekly public affairs show on the Kentucky Educational Television network, will start on March 30 its candidate programs for the May 19 primary elections.
Hosted by Bill Goodman, the programs will begin at 8 p.m. on KET and will also stream live at KET.org/live and be archived online.
The scheduled candidates are:
Republicans for State Treasurer
– Allison Ball
– State Rep. Kenneth Churchill Imes
Democrats for State Treasurer
– Neville Blakemore
– State Rep.Rick Nelson
April 20 (two-part)
Republicans for Attorney General
– Lawrence County Attorney Michael T. Hogan
– State Sen. Whitney H. Westerfield
Republicans for Commissioner of Agriculture
– State Rep. Richard Heath
– State Rep. Ryan F. Quarles
KET plans to announce its programs for candidates for governor and lieutenant governor after April 10.
KET said candidates appearing on these programs have “demonstrated satisfaction of KET’s candidate invitation criteria, published at www.KET.org/candidate-invitation-criteria-2015.”
Live primary election night coverage from KET begins at 7 p.m. on May 19.
Prior to that, additional election coverage and analysis continues on “Comment on Kentucky,” and the topic of the May 18 Kentucky Tonight program will be the election.
Kentucky Tonight is a KET production, produced by Deidre Clark. Goodman is host and managing editor.
KET serve more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile.
Former U.S. Senate candidate and gubernatorial hopeful Matt Bevin appeared on a conservative radio show Wednesday where he continued to needle U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and questioned U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s sincerity in endorsing McConnell.
Bevin, appearing on the Wednesday edition of Wilkow Majority, was asked by host Andrew Wilkow if he watched Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign against McConnell, after the senator defeated Bevin in the primary, and wondered if he could’ve beat her.
“I kid you not — I’d have beaten her more handily,” Bevin said.
Throughout the interview, Bevin levied shots at a number of the state’s political figures, hitting Grimes (“She’s no Hillary Clinton.”), Attorney General Jack Conway (“The embodiment of everything that is wrong with the plastic career politicians in this country.”) and McConnell’s “buzz saw” campaign.
“I’ve been through the buzz saw indeed,” Bevin said. “And I’ll tell you something, I don’t begrudge any of that that went down. That is the nature sadly of what politics has become.”
Wilkow, who joined the group Freedom Works at a Bevin for Senate rally last spring, joked with Bevin about Grimes’ refusal to say whether she voted for President Barack Obama.
“They had clearly not pre-selected the sound-byte that she was to be provided, and it’s a shame,” Bevin said. “Unfortunately, as a result of that, Kentucky didn’t really have it’s best foot out forward perhaps on that side from the Democrats.”
Bevin also appeared to quibble with McConnell’s stewardship of the U.S. Senate since he became majority leader last month.
“The solutions to what is gonna fix America are not coming from the top down,” Bevin said. “You look already, we have majorities now in congress and in the Senate, and look we’re making some of the same excuses we made when we didn’t.”
Josh Holmes, the senior adviser to McConnell’s re-election campaign, said in an email Thursday afternoon that “at some point you have to start asking whether Matt Bevin should be medicated.”
“The guy has no grasp on reality whatsoever and his delusions of grandeur are simply breathtaking,” Holmes said.
Wilkow described Paul, who endorsed McConnell in his re-election effort, as someone who endorsed the establishment candidate but was torn in doing so, asking Bevin if it was “painful” that Paul did not endorse him.
Bevin said Paul reminded him of “the Violent Femmes song ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?'” Wilkow corrected Bevin, noting that it was The Clash who sang that song.
“I know Rand well,” Bevin said, calling Paul’s endorsement of McConnell a “conscientious decision.”
“I’ve known him from the beginning,” Bevin said. “I was one of the people who supported him early on and maxed out when others didn’t.”
When asked if he thought either McConnell or Paul might endorse him in his race to be governor, Bevin said he had every indication both would stay neutral, calling that the “proper thing to do.”
While he largely spared his current Republican opponents, Bevin repeated that his life experience and “knowledge of issues” separates him from the three Republicans running against him.
“I would love to just have a debate at any moment in time with any of the candidates in this race,” Bevin said.
The candidate closed out the show by noting that while much of the audience doesn’t live in Kentucky, they should check out his website and contribute to his campaign.
FRANKFORT – State legislators would have more authority over the governor’s administrative regulations under a bill a Senate panel approved Thursday on a partisan vote.
Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, is the same as a measure that the Senate approved last year but the House let die.
It would amend the state Constitution to specify that an administrative regulation disapproved by lawmakers would be void and unenforceable and could not be reissued in the same or similar language for at least a year.
Some legislators complain that they have no power over administrative regulations when the General Assembly is not in session. They can only address them now when in session.
Such regulations allow the executive branch to deal with emergencies and to implement policies when the legislature is not in session.
The bill would allow the General Assembly to set up a review panel to rule on administrative regulations between sessions of the legislature.
Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council, told the committee the bill was not needed and that it would delegate power to a special agency created by the legislature.
Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, said the bill would lead to year-round legislative action.
The panel’s vote was 8-3, with Republicans in the majority. The legislation now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
Constitutional amendments require approval by the House and the Senate and by voters in statewide polls.
HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes reminded Monday that persons interested in running for state office this year have until Jan. 27 to file.
But she suggested filing earlier than that in case filing papers need to be corrected.
Kentucky law does not provide an opportunity to correct or re-file paperwork after the filing deadline of 4 p.m. Jan. 27, said Grimes, the state’s chief election official.
The offices of governor and lieutenant Governor, secretary of state, attorney general, auditor of public accounts, state treasure and commissioner of agriculture are on the ballot in Kentucky in 2015.
Candidates may access the filing forms required at http://app.sos.ky.gov/ElectionsDYC/.
By Sam Youngman
Attorney General Jack Conway announced another coveted endorsement Thursday in his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, winning the support of the Kentucky Pipe Trades Association.
Though only one other Democrat, retired engineer and perennial candidate Geoff Young, has joined the race, Conway has worked hard in recent months to lock up critical endorsements of Democratic officials and organizations.
Thursday’s announcement was the latest show of support, and while the association might not be a household name, it is a key endorsement for Democrats running statewide who hope to do well in Western Kentucky.
“Sannie Overly and I are honored to have the support of the Kentucky Pipe Trades Association,” Conway said, referring to his running mate. “We will continue to stand up for working families across our commonwealth to move Kentucky forward.”
Six local unions that make up the association all joined in the endorsement.
“We are proud to support the Conway-Overly ticket,” Kyle Henderson, business manager for the Local 184 said in a statement. “Jack and Sannie have an excellent record of fighting for working families and
we know they are the clear choice for governor and lieutenant governor.”
Former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth have all endorsed Conway.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2015, underwent successful back surgery Wednesday in Louisville, his office said in a release.
The release said Conway, 45, had a minimally-invasive, microdiscectomy to relieve persistent pain caused by a herniated lumbar disc impinging on his sciatic nerve root.
The procedure was performed at Baptist Health Louisville by neurosurgeon Steven J. Reiss.
Doctors anticipate a complete recovery, and Conway is expected to keep a full schedule for all of calendar year 2015, the release said.
He will have a limited public schedule for the next couple of weeks while he recovers, it added.
Conway thanked the doctors and medical staff for their care and all those who have sent prayers and well wishes.
“He looks forward to hitting the ground running in 2015,” the release said.
Conway is running for governor of Kentucky next year with state Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, as his running mate.
By Jack Brammer email@example.com FRANKFORT – Luke Morgan, a Lexington attorney with experience in trial court and state administrative hearings, is considering a possible run as a Republican for state attorney general in 2015. Morgan, 51, said Tuesday he has not yet made a decision on whether to run to be the state’s chief law-enforcement […]
By Jack Brammer
Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott of Pikeville said Monday he will decide by early January whether to run for governor next year.
If he decides to enter the Republican primary election to be held next May, Scott said, he will step down immediately as a justice on the state’s highest court.
Scott, 67, emphasized during an interview in Lexington that he has not yet decided whether to enter the race.
He acknowledged that he has had “informal discussions” with potential running mates and that whoever might be his running mate for lieutenant governor is “a major factor” in his decision whether to seek the governor’s office.
He said it would be “a ticket for promise.”
If he runs, Scott said, his campaign would be based on ideas to improve the lives of Kentuckians.
The filing deadline to run for governor in 2015 is Jan. 27.
Two Republicans already have said they will run for governor – state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer of Tompkinsville and Louisville businessman Hal Heiner.
Attorney General Jack Conway of Louisville, a Democrat, also has entered the race, as well as Democrat Geoff Young, a retired engineer from Lexington who lost a bid in this year’s Democratic primary election for Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District seat.
Scott was elected to the Supreme Court, the state’s highest court, in November 2004 to represent the 7th District. It consists of 22 counties in Eastern Kentucky. He served as deputy chief justice from 2006 to 2010.
Scott was a circuit judge from 1984 to 1988. Before being a judge, he practiced law as a trial attorney from 1975 to 1980 and was an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Pike County from 1981 to 1982.
He has made unsuccessful runs for Congress and state attorney general.
Scott, a native of Pike County, attended Eastern Kentucky University for a year before volunteering for service in the Army in 1966. He was a first lieutenant in Vietnam.
After his military service, Scott received a bachelor’s degree from Pikeville College and a law degree from the University of Miami in Florida.