By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Former Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Bill Garmer said Friday he is considering running for the U.S. Senate next year if Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes declines to enter the race against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.
“A lot of people have talked to me about the race,” said Garmer, a Lexington lawyer, in a telephone interview. “But Alison is the center of discussion. In my mind, if she wants the nomination, she has my support. She is one of the bright stars in the Democratic party and she wants to serve Kentucky. I would be the first in line to support her.”
Asked if he would consider running if Grimes decides not to run, Garmer said, “that sounds like a lawyer’s question but that would be fair.”
Grimes said April 23 that she is pondering whether to run for the U.S. Senate next year against McConnell. She said she would “take the time to reflect with my family, my supporters on how I can best continue to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Veteran political consultant Jim Cauley is working for the Democratic campaign of James L. Kay II in the special state House 56th District race in Central Kentucky.
Kay, a Woodford County attorney, confirmed Wednesday that Cauley, a former chief of staff for Gov. Steve Beshear, is his campaign consultant in the race.
That drew an immediate response from state Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson, who noted that Cauley was campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign in Illinois.
By David Lightman
Herald-Leader Washington Bureau
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul found an appreciative crowd Saturday morning at the North Liberty, Iowa, Community Center, the last stop on his whirlwind Iowa tour.
Paul told fellow Republicans to be inclusive and look beyond primary victories. “You have to be able to present what we stand for in a way to appeal to people who haven’t heard that message,” he said.
He noted that “If you’re an evangelist or a pastor you don’t go beating people over the head to get into your church…it’s the same way with a political party.”
Paul, a first-term senator, concluded his trip to the state that traditionally holds the nation’s first presidential caucus Saturday. Friday, he met with pastors, Republican women and the media, and spoke at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Cedar Rapids.
His 20 minute talk Saturday was wide ranging. One of his biggest applause lines: “Not one penny more to countries that are burning our flag.”
He segued into a critique of what he termed government waste. Look at the Commerce Department, Paul advised. “You wouldn’t notice if you woke up tomorrow and it was gone,” he said.
Paul also urged tax reform that cuts taxes, and spoke about his plan for a 17 percent corporate and income tax with few deductions.
If the nation adopted Reagan-era economic policies, he said, 12 to 13 million jobs could be created.
“It is not inherently unfair to pay the same rate. It would stimulate economy,” Paul insisted.
U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington,is welcoming First Lady Michelle Obama to Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District with an expressed hope she learns more about coal.
Mrs. Obama is to be the commencement speaker Saturday at Eastern Kentucky University, which is be attended by Gov. Steve Beshear and Kentucky’s First Lady Jane Beshear.
Three journalists will join host Ferrell Wellman on this weekend’s “Comment on Kentucky,” a public affairs show of the Kentucky Educational Television network, to discuss the latest political news in the state.
They are Ryan Alessi, senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics for CN/2; Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky; and Jack Brammer, political reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The show airs live at 8 p.m. Friday on KET.
On the Monday, May 6, special edition of “Kentucky Tonight” from Washington at 8 p.m. on KET and at www.ket.org/live, host Bill Goodman and guests will discuss the 113th Congress.
Scheduled guests are U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville.
PIKEVILLE — The federal government would face a deadline to issue or deny surface-mining permits under legislation Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he will file next week.
McConnell said Monday that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has failed to act on dozens of proposed permits for surface mines in Eastern Kentucky, holding up some for years as coal jobs in the region plummet.
Repeating a familiar theme as he ramps up for a re-election campaign in 2014, McConnell said the EPA’s inaction is part of the Obama Administration’s attack on the coal industry.
“The war on coal waged by this administration is costing Kentucky our jobs, our livelihoods and indeed, our future,” McConnell told a receptive audience gathered in a cavernous repair bay at Whayne Supply Company in Pikeville.
McConnell acknowledged in a later speech to the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in Pikeville that it will be hard to get the proposed legislation through the Democrat-led U.S. Senate, but said he is trying to bring attention to the problem. He said Kentucky’s junior senator, Republican Rand Paul of Bowling Green, will co-sponsor the legislation.
FRANKFORT — A new, independent super PAC is being formed to help U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in his re-election bid next year.
Kentuckians for Strong Leadership announced Tuesday in an email that it is filing incorporation papers with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office.
“President Obama and his liberal allies know they can’t achieve the rest of their big government agenda unless they take out Senator Mitch McConnell, and we will raise and spend whatever it takes to prevent that from happening,” said Scott Jennings, the PAC’s senior advisor in a statement.
He added: “We expect to set new records for independent political action to ensure that McConnell can keep fighting for Kentucky jobs and our way of life.”
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — After a busy legislative session and a business trip to Taiwan, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is pondering whether to run for the U.S. Senate next year against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.
Grimes, a Democrat, said Tuesday she is “now going to take the time to reflect with my family, my supporters on how I can best continue to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
Grimes did not set a timetable for making a decision, saying only that she will “give it the due diligence it deserves.”
Political observers differ on how quickly Grimes should decide.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell depicts himself as a victim of “dirty” attacks by liberals and President Barack Obama’s “No. 1 target” in a TV ad that begins airing Friday.
McConnell’s campaign said it has spent more than $100,000 to air the ad statewide on cable and broadcast stations. It is the Republican candidate’s second TV ad even though the election is more than a year away and no major candidate has announced to run against him.
The 30-second ad, titled “How Dirty?”, features a female narrator who says, “Mitch McConnell is Obama’s number one target because Mitch protects Kentucky from Obama’s bad ideas. Liberals will do anything to beat McConnell.”
Obama, a Democrat, remains unpopular in Kentucky. Early in the president’s first term, McConnell said his “single most important goal” as Republican Senate leader was to make Obama a one-term president. Obama was re-elected last year.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the attacks at the Boston Marathon on Monday:
“Today, the thoughts of every American are with the people of Boston, but especially with the many victims of yesterday’s horrendous attacks, and their families.
“Many who were looking forward to celebrating the achievement of a loved one yesterday woke today to the grim reality of facing the rest of their lives with a disfiguring injury. For them, yesterday’s attacks were the beginning of a long, difficult journey. Three others who lined up to encourage others, including an eight-year old boy who was there to cheer on his dad at the finish line, lost their lives in the blast.
“We pray in a special way for their families.