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Rand Paul endorses Thomas Massie for re-election

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul speaks with reporters in Midway, Ky., on May 24, 2013. Photo by Jack Brammer | StaffBy Sam Youngman

FRANKFORT — Despite praising the role of competitive primary elections in the past, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on Friday endorsed U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie for re-election in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District.

Massie, Kentucky’s most ardent Tea Party member, has come under fire recently in his Northern Kentucky district as Steve Stevens, president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber, said late last month he was considering challenging Massie in a Republican primary.

Massie is a staunch ally of Paul’s, and the senator said in a statement Friday that the freshman congressman “is one of the most principled conservatives in the United States Congress.”

“Over the past year Thomas has always stood with me in defending the principles of our Constitution, fighting to keep our taxes low and giving the people of Kentucky a voice in Washington,” Paul said. “Today I am proud to endorse and stand with Thomas as he seeks another term in Congress. Kentucky and our nation needs a strong constitutional conservative and Thomas has proven to be just that.”

Paul, R-Bowling Green, has generally been loath to get involved in state Republican primaries, still tasting the bitter flavor of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s involvement in Paul’s 2010 primary against former Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

In mid-November, when Louisville businessman Matt Bevin filed to run against McConnell in the 2014 GOP primary, Paul applauded the role of primary elections even though he had previously endorsed McConnell.

“I think these primaries are good for us,” Paul said. “They make us all better.”

Shutdown brings D.C. fundraising to halt for most of Ky. delegation

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville

By Sam Youngman

WASHINGTON — With few exceptions, Kentucky’s federal lawmakers have scrambled to cancel fundraisers after the government shut down midnight Monday.

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, still planned to attend a high-dollar event at the Four Seasons hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., with optional golf for attendees beginning Thursday, according to a fundraising schedule obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Whitfield’s event, planned to raise money for his Thoroughbred Political Action Committee (PAC), included suggested contributions of $2,500 per PAC and $1,500 per individual. Illinois Republican Rep. John Shimkus was scheduled to join the Kentucky congressman.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the event was still on, but a statement from Whitfield spokesman Chris Pack indicated that might change.

“The congressman’s sole focus right now is getting Harry Reid and the Senate to negotiate with the House to reopen the federal government,” Pack said in an email. “The congressman will assess his schedule as the week progresses.”

U.S. Reps. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, and Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, both canceled fundraising events planned for Wednesday, and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell canceled a fundraising breakfast scheduled for Thursday morning.

Barr, Guthrie, Whitfield and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, all canceled fundraisers that were scheduled for Tuesday, the first full day of the government shutdown.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg, managed to attend a fundraiser on Monday at the GOP’s Capitol Hill Club in Washington after a meeting of the House Republican Conference and just hours before the shutdown began.

Beshear says lawmakers may redraw Kentucky’s congressional districts

Gov. Steve Beshear

By Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — State lawmakers may have to redraw the boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts later this year when they meet in a special session to remake state legislative districts, Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday.

Beshear said he expects to announce the date of a special legislative session by Friday, when a hearing is scheduled in a federal court case filed by northern Kentucky officials and residents who say they are disadvantaged by the legislature’s inaction on redistricting.

The House and Senate passed new boundaries for congressional districts and state legislative districts in 2012, but the maps for state districts were ruled unconstitutional by the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Two federal lawsuits have been filed that seek to force lawmakers to create new boundaries for legislative districts or allow a federal court to draw the boundaries. Lawmakers are required to set new boundaries once each decade to account for shifting populations.

A key point of contention between House Democrats and Senate Republicans has been whether to include federal prisoners in their population counts when redrawing district boundaries.

U.S. Rep. Massie announces his district officers

FRANKFORT — U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg, has announced his officers for Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District.

They are:

Chris McCane, District Director
Chris McCane most recently served in the elected position of Lewis County jailer. He has been a small business owner involved in real estate and other ventures. He has 16 years of experience in corrections supervision, and was a corrections specialist for the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, where he managed and monitored 21 facility employees. He has a bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University in sociology and corrections.

Bob Porter, Field Director
Bob Porter has owned and operated several businesses in Northern Kentucky, including Mertack’s Furniture, Builders Cabinet Supply and Richwood Land Company. He is a past president of the Northern Kentucky Home Builders Association and was twice awarded “Builder of the Year.” He has been active in community service for over 35 years and has served on various organization boards.

Mary Kreft, District Office Manager
Mary Kreft was the district office manager for former Congressman Geoff Davis, She has a bachelor’s degree in business Mmnagement from Indiana Wesleyan University, where she graduated summa cum Laude.

Stacie Rockaway, Western District Field Representative
Stacie Rockaway most recently worked on Massie’s campaign as the Western Kentucky director. She brings to the district team years of experience in local and statewide politics, coordinating several elections in addition to serving as a caucus communications coordinator for the Kentucky Senate Majority Office.

She graduated from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and spent a semester at the New York School of Visual Arts.

J.R. Reed, Eastern District Field Representative
J.R. Reed is a United States Army Veteran and retired public school administrator for the Greenup County School system. He has spent the last eight years serving the district as senior field representative for former Congressman Davis in the Ashland district office. He is a graduate for Morehead State University.

–Jack Brammer

Adkins releases first TV ad in 4th Congressional District race

By Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT – Democrat Bill Adkins is rolling out the first TV ad against his Republican opponent Thomas Massie in their race for Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District.

The district encompasses Northern and northeastern Kentucky, along the Ohio River, southwest to Jefferson County and parts of the Northern/Central counties of Kentucky. U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Hebron, decided not to seek re-election this year for the district’s seat.

In a news release Wednesday, the Adkins campaign said it wanted to get out front in TV ads because it expects a Texas SuperPAC that contributed about $500,000 to Massie’s primary election in May to spend much on the fall race.

The ad questions Massie’s fiscal actions as judge-executive of Lewis County. It will initially air on cable markets throughout the district beginning Friday.

Beshear signs into law new boundaries for Kentucky’s congressional districts


By Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law Friday a compromise plan to redraw the boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts after the plan rocketed through the General Assembly on Friday.

The new map in House Bill 302 moves part of Jessamine County, including Wilmore, and all of Garrard, Mercer and Boyle counties from Central Kentucky’s 6th District to the 2nd District, which extends west to Owensboro. Lincoln County was moved to Eastern Kentucky’s 5th District.

The 6th District gained the remaining portion of Scott County, a southern strip of Harrison County, and all of Robertson, Nicholas, Fleming, Bath, Menifee and Wolfe counties.

Those changes are expected to make it tougher for Republican Andy Barr to successfully challenge U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles.

Legislators may finally be ready to approve congressional redistricting

By Jack Brammer and Janet Patton

FRANKFORT — After weeks of contentious negotiations, the state legislature is expected to produce a map Friday that redraws boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts.

Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said late Thursday there will be a vote Friday on a congressional redistricting map.

Stivers declined to say what the map will look like, “but we believe it will be a plan that will pass both chambers.”

He said the Senate has made no changes yet in a map the House sent it earlier this week, but “there’s always the possibility. Because of the sensitivity of the issue in discussions that will continue tonight and tomorrow, it probably will be premature to comment on what we have discussed with leaders of both houses.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said earlier this week that the latest map proposal basically protects incumbents.

No compromise on congressional redistricting; issue probably headed to court

By Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — State lawmakers failed to redraw the boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts before Tuesday’s candidate filing deadline, which means the issue probably will end up in court.

House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, told House members about 20 minutes after the 4 p.m. filing deadline that a compromise agreement between the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate could not be reached.

The House and Senate had delayed the original deadline from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7 to give the two sides more time to reach an agreement.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, had worked with members of congress on a possible compromise that late last week looked promising, House leaders said. But Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers said Tuesday afternoon that the two sides appeared to “agree to disagree.”

Stumbo said congressional candidates will run in the state’s existing districts. That means someone — either a candidate or a national political party — will probably challenge the constitutionality of Kentucky’s districts.

House, Senate appear close on congressional redistricting plan

By Beth Musgrave and Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT — House and Senate negotiators appear close to an agreement on new boundaries for Kentucky’s six congressional districts.

“We have a map that shows great promise,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo said late Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the Senate has had “little time to analyze anything” from the House, but “hope springs eternal.”

Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the staff of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, has been instrumental in helping the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-led Senate come to a consensus after weeks of negotiations.

Senate leaders were looking at a proposed map after the chamber adjourned Thursday evening. If the Senate agrees to the new map, it’s possible for the legislature to approve the plan before the Feb. 7 filing deadline for congressional candidates.

‘Some movement’ on congressional redistricting

FRANKFORT – The state House and Senate still have not reached a compromise on the redrawing of boundaries for Kentucky’s six congressional districts, but House Speaker Greg Stumbo appeared more optimistic Thursday that the two sides could reach an agreement.

“I think there’s at least some movement,” said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.

He said the House has offered another compromise plan to Republican Senate leaders. That plan specifically addressed some concerns of Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, Stumbo said. Rogers’ district includes most of Eastern and Central Kentucky.

The filing deadline for candidates is Jan. 31, but lawmakers could extend the deadline to give the two sides more time to hammer out an agreement.

Stumbo said he met and talked with Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers about the congressional map on Thursday morning, although no meeting has been set between leaders of the two chambers to produce a new congressional map.

Stivers, R-Manchester, said negotiations are “going slowly.”