LOUISVILLE — As customary, former President Bill Clinton was late to arrive Monday night at the University of Louisville campus for his second appearance this fall for the campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway.
The program was to start at 5 p.m.
It finally began at 6:05 p.m. and Clinton’s motorcade didn’t arrive until 6:34 p.m. He got on stage at 6:43 p.m.
Clinton’s close friend, Lexington businessman Jerry Lundergan, gave the first signal that the president recently named in a national poll as America’s most popular politician, was on his way.
Lundergan said Clinton sent him a Tweet while in flight to the Bluegrass State that said, “We’re on the way to Lundertucky.”
Gov. Steve Beshear and the two candidates for U.S. Senate — Democratic Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul – will headline the speakers at the Aug. 7 Fancy Farm political picnic in Graves County.
Mark Wilson, political chairman for the picnic that traditionally starts the fall election campaigns, has released a list of confirmed speakers. The event, on the grounds of St. Jerome Catholic Church in Fancy Farm, is free to the public.
By Valarie Honeycutt-Spears – firstname.lastname@example.org
Fort Wright police told four Central Kentucky college students to leave the lobby outside the offices of Sen. Jim Bunning Wednesday where they were advocating for a proposal that would help children of illegal immigrants earn permanent residency.
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act would grant temporary resident status to college students or military members who entered the United States before their 16th birthday, have lived here for five years, have graduated from high school and have good moral character. Those affected would be able to receive financial aid in the form of student loans, obtain authorization to work and get a driver’s license.
Students who go on to receive a college degree or receive an honorable discharge from the military would receive conditional permanent residency.
Elizabeth Jacoby, a leader of the Kentucky Dream Coalition, said that a total of eight people — four each day — wearing academic cap and gowns sat “peacefully” in the lobby outside the Republican senator’s offices on Tuesday and Wednesday. One was a University of Kentucky graduate, the others were students at Asbury University, Bluegrass Community and Technical College and UK.
By Linda B. Blackford – email@example.com
A Philadelphia man who was indicted by a federal grand jury in Covington for sending a harassing e-mail to U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky is expected to plead not guilty Friday to the charge.
Bruce Shore, an unemployed sales representative, said he sent an angry e-mail to Bunning’s office in February after Bunning single-handedly blocked a vote to extend unemployment benefits for several days.
In the e-mail, which Shore provided to the Herald-Leader, he asked if Bunning was “insane” and told him that “no checks equal no food for me.”
“If this political grandstanding does not end today — we will come to your offices and make our point. You are playing a life and death game here. Do you get it.” he wrote in all capital letters. He signed the letter Brad Shore.
By Jack Brammer – firstname.lastname@example.org
FRANKFORT — The national media are flocking to Kentucky to see if Tea Party movement favorite Rand Paul can capture the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate Tuesday and rattle the state’s GOP establishment.
Meanwhile, the Democratic race for U.S. Senate in the state between Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney Jack Conway is going down to the mire as well as the wire.
Kentucky voters will go to the polls Tuesday to select their party nominees for the Nov. 2 general election. They will be voting on congressional races, dozens of state legislative races a handful of judicial races and numerous local races, included mayoral primaries in Lexington and Louisville.
Voter turnout in Kentucky is expected to be about 30 percent, said Les Fugate of the secretary of state’s office.
The most attention will be on the U.S. Senate races.
COMING SUNDAY: Use the 8-page election guide in Sunday’s Herald-Leader to compare candidates on the issues.
By Jack Brammer – email@example.com
FRANKFORT — Candidates for U.S. Senate are crisscrossing the state this weekend in a last-ditch effort to get voters to the polls on Tuesday.
Attorney General Jack Conway campaigned Friday alongside former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford in Central Kentucky. He’s in a tight race for the Democratic nomination against Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, who spent the day campaigning in heavily Democratic areas of Western Kentucky.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Trey Grayson traipsed across southeastern Kentucky Friday, remaining optimistic that he can win the Republican nomination even though rival Rand Paul has racked up double-digit leads in most polls.
Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon and the son of Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, spent the day campaigning in Western Kentucky. The winners on Tuesday will face each other in the Nov. 2 general election.
By Halimah Abdullah – firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON — About half of Kentucky voters frown on the job done by Kentucky’s two U.S. senators — figures that track a national trend of voter dissatisfaction with Washington incumbents and the federal government, according to a new Kentucky poll.
Forty nine percent of respondents said they disapprove of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s performance, up from 45 percent in the most recent Kentucky Poll, conducted in October 2008. Forty one percent approve of his job performance in the latest poll, compared to 48 percent two years ago.
Similarly, 53 percent of those polled disapprove of Bunning’s job performance and 38 percent approve. There are no comparable numbers for Bunning in 2008.
It has been a tough year for Washington incumbents and lawmakers across the country are experiencing similar drops in approval ratings, said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the Cook Political Report. In McConnell’s case, his position as senate minority leader makes him a large target for a disgruntled electorate.
“Democrats are furious at him for what they call obstructing a Democratic agenda and some Republicans are furious at him for compromising too much,” Duffy said.
UPDATED THROUGHOUT AT 6 A.M. 5/6/10
By Jack Brammer – email@example.com
FRANKFORT — A new Kentucky Poll shows novice political candidate Rand Paul with a commanding 12-point lead over Trey Grayson, the Republican Party establishment’s choice in the GOP race for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.
The state’s Democratic primary to replace U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning is closer, with Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo holding a seven -point lead over Attorney General Jack Conway, according to the poll commissioned by the Lexington Herald-Leader, WKYT-TV in Lexington and WAVE-TV in Louisville.
With less than two weeks to go before the May 18 election, Conway remains within striking distance of Mongiardo, who leads 39 percent to 32 percent — a result that is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. An additional 17 percent remain undecided, and 12 percent favor three lesser-known candidates.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a lock by any stretch, but I would rather be in Mongiardo’s situation than Conway’s,” said Del Ali, president of Research 2000 in Olney, Md., which conducted the poll May 2-4.
“I think it’s a close race that could end up with the winner grabbing a victory margin of only 3 to 4 percentage points,” he said.
Among Republicans, Paul holds a 44 percent to 32 percent lead over Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Seventeen percent remain undecided, and 7 percent favor three lesser-known candidates.
“It’s Paul’s race to lose,” Ali said. “Grayson’s best hope is for Paul to self-destruct.”
By Ryan Alessi – firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning issued a surprise endorsement Wednesday of Republican candidate Rand Paul, calling him the one “strong, principled conservative” and best choice to fill the Senate seat Bunning will vacate later this year.
The endorsement, released at 5 p.m. in a four-paragraph statement from Bunning’s press secretary Mike Reynard, is the latest public indignity handed to Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a Bunning loyalist who was once considered the front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination.
Bunning, in the statement, said Kentucky “needs a conservative who will say no to bailouts, stop the government takeover of our economy, end wasteful spending, and bring down our national debt.”
“In 2010, there is only one such conservative running for the United States Senate — Dr. Rand Paul,” Bunning’s statement said.
HEBRON — Irascible Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning has been a pariah among his congressional colleagues. Back in the conservative swath of northern Kentucky he calls home, though, he’s being heralded as a hero.
Democrats bemoaned Bunning as unsympathetic to down-on-their-luck Americans when he single-handedly held up a $10 billion spending bill that had money for jobless benefits. He’s not popular among Republican senators, either — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — who worked to dry up the brash lawmaker’s fundraising so he’d have no choice but to drop out of his re-election campaign.
Back home, the former major league pitcher and hall-of-famer is known as a budget hawk standing against out-of-control federal spending. Some 400 people paid $60 to $100 each to reserve seats to honor him at a dinner Saturday evening. McConnell was conspicuously absent, but scores of other politicians lavished Bunning with praise.
“Jim Bunning has been right more than he’s been wrong,” said Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a Republican who thinks of Bunning as his mentor. “And history will show that he, more than anyone else, predicted some of the economic problems we’re having now and worked to try to prevent them.”
Bunning had been widely considered the most vulnerable Republican incumbent heading into this year’s elections, and with the GOP trying to retake majority control of the Senate, they encouraged the 78-year-old not to seek a third term. Many feared he couldn’t hold the seat against one of the two prominent Democratic candidates, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway.
But given the change in political mood, Alecia Webb-Edgington — who helped organize the dinner — believes Bunning might have been written off too quickly.
“He’s incredibly popular,” she said. “I truly believe he could have easily won another term.”