Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Matt Bevin, who is challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican primary, both criticized the Ryan-Murray budget deal Wednesday.
“This deal blows a hole in our budget by boosting spending this year by $60 billion and piling on $7 trillion of new debt in the next ten years,” Paul said on Facebook. “It raises taxes and continues the Washington gimmick of increasing spending while promising future spending cuts that never take place.”
Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, the Super PAC allied with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, plans to begin running a new radio ad Monday that attempts to paint likely Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes as a willing would-be puppet to President Barack Obama.
The $90,000 ad buy, which doesn’t include the Louisville market, also mentions Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as it focuses on the issue of coal and includes the ominous voice of a narrator warning Kentuckians that “Obama says he needs more allies in Congress to finish forcing his liberal agenda on our country.”
The spot, scheduled to run through Dec. 17, represents the heart of McConnell’s strategy against Grimes, if he is able to fend off Republican challenger Matt Bevin in the May primary.
McConnell hasn’t been shy about his game plan, saying he wants to make the race a referendum on Obama, who remains unpopular in much of the state. Grimes has largely avoided saying the president’s name in recent months, presumably because it would appear in an ad against her almost immediately.
In the radio ad, Grimes is heard saying, “We need to have someone who is not just attacking the president.”
“Really?” the narrator follows. “Obama’s reckless regulations are killing Kentucky jobs and devastating communities. But Alison Lundergan Grimes keeps on supporting him.”
The ad tries to establish the link McConnell hopes voters will see by pointing out that Grimes was a delegate to last year’s Democratic National Convention. She cast a vote for Obama to be the Democratic nominee, even though he is “killing Kentucky jobs and devastating communities,” the ad alleges.
Grimes, meanwhile, has attempted to move to the right of McConnell on coal issues, at one point laying the blame for dramatic job losses in Eastern Kentucky at McConnell’s feet and assailing Obama for “reckless regulations” that she said are killing coal.
But Grimes has so far declined to discuss in detail her thoughts on global warming, how much of a contributing factor coal might be to that issue and how she reconciles her positions with the environmentalist base of the Democratic Party.
The ad describes Reid, who has helped Grimes raise money, as “an Obama liberal who claims coal makes us sick.”
Though the ad is ominous in its delivery, the content is notable for its unlikely politeness.
“Say ‘no, thank you’ to Alison Lundergan Grimes,” the narrator says in closing. “She’s on Obama’s side; not ours. “
Going by conventional wisdom and modern political party tendencies, it’s hard to imagine a more unlikely setting.
But there was U.S. Sen. Rand Paul last Thursday, sitting in a leather wingback chair, a large collection of African ceremonial masks on the wall to his left, as he discussed the contributions of Malcolm X to the civil rights movement.
It was a cold, gray morning at Simmons College in Louisville’s West End. Paul had a full day of events scheduled around the commonwealth as he pushed for “Economic Freedom Zones” and attempted to shore up his support in Kentucky before possibly embarking on a run for the White House. But his morning was set aside for Rev. Kevin Cosby, a well-respected leader within Louisville’s black community, and a man who calls Paul a friend.
After the Republican Party’s shameful showing with minority groups in the 2012 election, Paul has been far from subtle about trying to take the lead in reaching out to black voters.
So he gave a speech at Howard University in April, and last week followed up with a speech to the Detroit Economic Club. The scoffs from national black leaders and the Democratic Party weren’t subtle, either.
What in the world is a man who questioned the constitutionality of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and reluctantly accepted the resignation of a staffer who once called himself the Southern Avenger doing leading the GOP’s efforts to reach black voters?
A short list of Kentucky Republican all-stars has in recent days recorded automated phone calls on behalf of a Republican state House candidate in Western Kentucky, but U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is not among them.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer have all recorded calls advocating support for Suzanne Miles in Tuesday’s special election in the 7th House District against Democrat Kim Humphrey.
McConnell’s name adorns the state party’s headquarters, making it’s absence on the list of Republicans recording calls conspicuous.
Miles told the Lexington Herald-Leader late Sunday that she didn’t ask McConnell — or any other GOP officials — to record calls on her behalf. Miles has previously noted that McConnell was the first person to give her a check for her campaign, and she said Sunday that he has “been supportive since day one.”
In polling, a high rate of Kentuckians have consistently said they have a negative view of McConnell, numbers that have led analysts to almost universally declare McConnell’s seat in jeopardy.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul warned pundits Monday not to read too much into comments he made about his wife possibly vetoing a run for the White House in 2016, but he did say “it’s not a slam dunk that I’m running.”
Paul, who has said repeatedly that he is seriously considering a run, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that comments he has made about his wife, Kelly, being opposed to the idea are largely a joke.
“There’s two votes in my family,” Paul told the audience at the Detroit Economic Club last week. “My wife has both of them, and both of them are ‘no’ votes right now.”
Paul has used some variation of that joke whenever he has been asked about a 2016 run while traveling around Kentucky.
On Fox News Sunday, Paul reiterated that he is considering a run, but he added that he is “also very serious about the family considerations.”
By Sam Youngman
The University of Kentucky men’s and women’s basketball teams met a former commander-in-chief while touring the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum Thursday night.
Coal magnate Joe Craft, a heavyweight donor to the University of Kentucky, and Kelly Knight, a longtime Republican fundraiser who helped Bush’s campaign efforts, arranged the tour and visit while the Cats are in Texas to take on Baylor Friday night.
Wildcats’ star Julius Randle presented the 43rd president with a UK jersey numbered “43,” while women’s coach Matthew Mitchell gave Bush a jersey from the Hoops squad.
Kentucky basketball has been all about the 1600 Pennsylvania club recently.
Earlier this week, Coach John Calipari tweeted that he had a 30 minute conversation with former President Bill Clinton, and the 2011-2012 Wildcats met with President Barack Obama at the White House after winning the national championship.
ALEXANDRIA — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, an outspoken opponent of President Barack Obama’s health care law, described his frustration upon signing up for the Washington, D.C., exchange, which the senator did Wednesday.
Paul spoke to reporters Thursday after an event in Northern Kentucky, saying that the law is not a success in Kentucky despite the high interest and thousands who have enrolled.
“It made me an unhappy person,” Paul said, chuckling.
Paul said the process took him more than two hours, and several times he lost the information he had entered into the troubled website.
“I got all the way through with Obamacare one time, and then I lost all my information,” he said.
When asked how to fix the health care law, Paul said, “I’m not sure if there is a fix.”
“I will vote to try to make it less bad if possible,” he said.
By Sam Youngman
Herald-Leader Political Writer
The famous psychic Edgar Cayce was born near Hopkinsville.
He died in 1945, but Cayce would have a better chance of telling you the results of next November’s U.S. Senate race than anything that might be gleaned from next week’s special elections in Lexington and Western Kentucky.
While it’s tempting and oftentimes worthwhile to look at off-year special elections as gauges of voter moods and priorities and the strengths of a federal campaign’s ground game, the Dec. 10 elections for the state House and Senate won’t tell you anything about next November.
Trying to learn something about a statewide race from Lexington’s 13th Senate District, where voters will chose someone to replace Democrat Kathy Stein, is a nonstarter. The district, which primarily covers downtown Lexington and the University of Kentucky, is significantly more liberal and more black than the rest of the state.
If there was a race to use as a bellwether — resist the temptation — it would be in the House 7th District, which covers Union County and portions of Henderson and Daviess counties. In that race, Democrat Kim Humphrey and Republican Suzanne Miles are battling it out to replace Democratic state Rep. John Arnold, who resigned earlier this year amid accusations of sexual harassment.
But there’s not a lot to learn there, except that a Democrat is running surprisingly strong in an area that has grown increasingly conservative.
By Sam Youngman
BARDSTOWN — For a man who seems to spend his time either touring factories or raising money, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie is happy to sit and talk Kentucky politics until well after the check has come.
While keeping a full constituency outreach schedule, Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, has been burning up the fundraising trail over the last several weeks, telling the Lexington Herald-Leader over a pimento cheese sandwich and chili at Mammy’s Kitchen that he’s using the money to keep his political options open and grow his influence within the Republican Party.
After declaring he wouldn’t run for governor in 2015 despite a frenzy of rumors and a chat with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Guthrie said he is not looking at any specific office in the future. Instead, he is paying his dues to the National Republican Campaign Committee, giving the most to the Republican Party of Kentucky and giving heavily to his fellow Republican House members for their re-election campaigns.
Guthrie’s politically charitable habits amount to the traditional road map that members of Congress follow to move from freshman members to subcommittee chairmen and maybe someday committee chair, growing influence within the party and Congress immeasurably.
Kentucky women deserve far better than the pandering they will face over the next year. But since they represent almost 53 percent of the vote in the commonwealth, they should probably go ahead and put on their hip waders.
Trying to win favor with such a crucial voting bloc, however, presents plenty of political perils for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican Mitch McConnell.
For McConnell, let’s call it “the Rick Lazio lesson.” For Grimes, “the Sarah Palin parable.”
Hold on to that hate mail for a second. These are not general or far-reaching comparisons between McConnell and Lazio or Grimes and Palin, but they do carry specific lessons for both campaigns.
In early September 2008, just days after Republican presidential nominee John McCain announced then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, a group of high-profile GOP women called a press conference at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Women like Carly Fiorina and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., ripped into the assembled media for their sexist approach toward Palin. They were mostly referring to reprehensible Internet rumors and the occasional talking head doing what talking heads do.