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.”
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.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell asked the FBI Tuesday to investigate a secret recording of a private meeting in which he and his campaign aides discussed Ashley Judd’s mental health and religious beliefs as possible points of political attack.
In public statements, McConnell accused “the left” of using “Nixonian tactics” to bug his campaign headquarters in Louisville.
“Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Sen. McConnell’s office without consent,” said Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager. “By whom and how that was accomplished presumably will be the subject of a criminal investigation.”
The FBI acknowledged the request from McConnell’s campaign but did not elaborate.
The liberal-leaning publication Mother Jones released the recording Tuesday, saying it was obtained last week from a source who requested anonymity.
Judd, a Democratic actress and activist, had considered running against McConnell next year but decided last month not to challenge the Senate Republican leader.
“This is yet another example of the politics of personal destruction that embody Mitch McConnell and are pervasive in Washington D.C.,” said Cara Tripicchio, a Judd spokeswoman, in a statement. “We expected nothing less from Mitch McConnell and his camp than to take a personal struggle such as depression, which many Americans cope with on a daily basis, and turn it into a laughing matter.”
HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — The re-election campaign of Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has raised nearly $12 million, its campaign manager announced Monday night.
Jesse Benton said in a statement that McConnell will file a report with the Federal Election Commission later this week showing he has raised another $1.8 million since January and that he has about $8.6 million on hand.
Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson also said McConnell also raised more than $500,000 since January for the state GOP that will work to support his re-election next year.
McConnell had raised about $10 million for his re-election by the end of last year.
So far, McConnell doesn’t have a serious challenger. Actress Ashley Judd had considering running, but announced late last month that she had opted not to.
By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday he has spoken with actress Ashley Judd about her potentially challenging U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, but he declined to give details of the conversation.
“I’m convinced that she is seriously considering a race for the United States Senate in the Democratic primary,” Beshear said. “I think she can be an effective and formidable candidate.”
Besher said the conversation took place last week but said he could not remember on what day. He said other Democratic candidates may be considering a run against the long-time Republican senator from Louisville but declined to name them. Beshear’s comments came at a news conference Tuesday in the state Capitol on an unrelated topic.
Beshear is among several Democratic officials Judd has contacted in recent weeks. She also has spoken with Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Louisville, and has tried to contact House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.
By Linda B. Blackford
FRANKKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday that he has spoken with actress Ashley Judd and plans to talk more with her about next year’s U.S. Senate race.
“She’s been trying to arrange and will be arranging some more conversations here in the next month or so,” Beshear told reporters after a bill signing.
Beshear said he spoke with Judd at the Bluegrass Ball in Washington D.C. in January. He declined to say if he would endorse her entry into the race against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.
“There are a number of people who are still talking about running for the U.S. Senate and I think she would be a very serious candidate, there may be others who would also… but I’m going to encourage as many as possible to take a look at it and we can come up with the best candidate,” Beshear said.
Various media outlets have reported that Judd met this week with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee about a possible run.