HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — Former state Democratic Party Chairman Bill Garmer, who is considering a possible bid for the U.S. Senate next year if Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes does not run, will not appear on Monday night’s “Kentucky Tonight” program on the Kentucky Educational Television show.
The show is to discuss the 2014 elections in Kentucky and was scheduled last week to feature Garmer as a panelist. Louisville Metro Councilman David Tandy, former treasurer for the state Democratic Party, will take his place, KET said Monday. Other scheduled panelists with host Bill Goodman are state Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson, former GOP Chair Ellen Williams and former Democratic Party Chair Jonathan Miller.
Garmer, a Lexington attorney, said last Friday that he might run for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell if Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes does not make the race. Grimes has not yet said whether she will enter the contest.
Garmer could not be reached for comment Monday about the KET show but a person answering the phone at his Lexington office said he had a prior engagement.
Goodman, host of the show, said he got a telpehone message late Friday from Garmer saying he would not be able to make the show with no explanation why.
Asked if anyone had objected to Garmer’s scheduled appearance on the show, Goodman said Kelsey Cooper, a spokeswoman for the state GOP, had called to make him aware of Garmer’s interests in the Senate race and “express concerns.”
State GOP Chair Roberston said there was “no formal objection on our part” about Garmer’s scheduled appearance on KET but noted that the party had some concerns about it “since he is a potential candidate.”
The show is to be broadcast live at 8 p.m. on KET.
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 — 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 — email@example.com
FRANKFORT — Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and his wife, Jane Beshear, picked up an extra source of income last year: Social Security checks.
The Beshears listed retirement income from the Social Security Administration in their latest financial disclosure form filed with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.
Gov. Beshear will turn 69 on Sept. 21. Mrs. Beshear turned 66 last December.
The Beshears listed five sources of gross income exceeding $1,000 in 2012 other than his $133,644 annual salary as governor. They included four from the previous year: a Schwab One investment account in Lexington, two Hilliard Lyons investment accounts in Hopkinsville, and income from Hourglass Farm in Lexington.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign released its first video ad Tuesday, a parody highlighting the difficulty Democrats are having trying to recruit a viable candidate to run against him.
The video is on the newly-launched website www.obamaskentuckycandidate.com. The Republican campaign says it plans to use the website to track Democrats’ recruiting process.
The nearly three-minute video features clips of Democratic President Barack Obama that have been edited to make it appear he is searching for a candidate to run against McConnell.
Prospects identified include actress Ashley Judd, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, former U.S. ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun and Ed Marksberry of Owensboro, who already has said he will run. The video also features clips of Gov. Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway, former Auditor Crit Luallen, Auditor Adam Edelen, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville, and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, all of whom have said they’re not interested in challenging McConnell.
“We all know President Obama and his liberal allies have made Senator McConnell their number one target,” Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “We thought we would have a little fun with the problems they’ve had finding someone to carry President Obama’s banner in Kentucky.”
The YouTube video was released to McConnell supporters in an email Tuesday morning and posted on Team Mitch’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Logsdon said the video shows that McConnell doesn’t want to talk about his long voting record in Washington.
“The only thing he can do is make fun of serious people who are trying to help Kentuckians,” Logsdon said. “He can’t point to any accomplishments.”
Logsdon said the Democratic Party “will have a strong challenger for him in 2014.”
Asked who that might be, he said “that process is in the works.”
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said Tuesday that Judd should contact Gov. Steve Beshear about the race.
“When we discussed this with the governor last week, he indicated that he’s not had that contact yet,” Stumbo said.
He said he hoped Judd would also talk to other Democratic leaders in Kentucky.
“I think there are some things that we could suggest to her that may help her as she formulated her campaign,” Stumbo said.
Meanwhile, Nicholasville Tea Party activist David Adams said Louisville businessman Matt Bevin is looking at the Republican primary for U.S. Senate as a Tea Party candidate.
Adams said the Tea Party in the state “may have multiple candidates to run against McConnell.”
Bevin said in a statement that he has made no final decision about the race. He said he has met with “various individuals and groups who have expressed their frustration with their current representation in Washington and have encouraged him to consider entering the race.”
By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Only 12 people attended the first Child Advocacy Day at the state Capitol nine years ago.
On Thursday, organizers estimated that nearly 900 advocates and children attended this year’s rally, urging lawmakers to pass key pieces of legislation ranging from a statewide ban on smoking in public places to a measure that would increase penalties for human trafficking.
Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, also urged attendees to talk with legislators about recently announced cuts to the state’s child care assistance and kinship care programs.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced last week that a program that helps low-income families pay for child care will be frozen in April and that income requirements will become more stringent in July. That means more than 8,700 families will likely lose child care assistance money.
The cabinet also announced that on July 1, relatives who care for children who were removed from homes because of abuse and neglect will no longer receive a $300 monthly stipend. Relatives who already receive the subsidy will continue to get it.
By Beth Musgrave — firstname.lastname@example.org
FRANKFORT — A government watchdog group is raising questions about a politically popular proposal that would allow overseas military members to cast ballots via email.
Common Cause of Kentucky argues that votes submitted over the Internet are vulnerable to hackers.
Richard Beliles, chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky, sent letters outlining his concerns Wednesday to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Senate and House leaders. He attached news stories and research from federal agencies and computer scientists warning about the perils of online voting.
“We strongly recommend against allowing ballots to be cast online via email, e-fax or through Internet portals,” the letter said. “Online voting presents a direct threat to the integrity of elections in Kentucky because it is not sufficiently secure against fraud or malfunction.”
Republican Senate leaders have said making it easier for military members to vote is their top priority, promising to make it Senate Bill 1 when the proposal is drafted and filed. House Democrats have also spoken favorably of the initiative, which Grimes announced in September.
By Beth Musgrave — email@example.com
FRANKFORT — Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Tuesday that she expects a record number of voters to cast ballots Nov. 6 and that total voter turnout could be between 62 percent and 64 percent.
Grimes announced the prediction at a press conference in Frankfort. The voter turnout prediction is based on the number of absentee ballots cast so far in the general election. Turnout in the 2008 presidential election was 64 percent.
Kentucky has 130,000 more registered voters than in 2008, for a total of more than 3 million.
The secretary of state’s office is seeing an uptick in absentee ballots cast in some key areas, including the newly configured 6th Congressional district, where incumbent U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, a Democrat from Versailles, is in a raucous re-election battle with Republican Andy Barr, who lost narrowly to Chandler in 2010.
Grimes said that 73,000 people in Kentucky have participated in absentee voting.
By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Absentee voters will have additional time to receive and fill out ballots for three special elections on Nov. 6.
Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Tuesday that candidates in special elections for a Louisville state senate seat, a Western Kentucky state house seat and for the 4th Congressional Districts must file their candidacy papers by Sept. 10, roughly a month earlier. By moving up the candidacy certification deadline, it will give absentee voters more time to receive and return absentee ballots.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court earlier this month asking Shepherd to issue an injunction against state laws that made it difficult for absentee voters to receive ballots in enough time to fill them out and return them.
By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes wants a judge to stop enforcement of a Kentucky law in order to give military and overseas voters more time to cast absentee ballots in a Nov. 6 special election.
Kentucky law currently states that absentee ballots for special elections for state house and senate races, congressional seats and the governor can only be sent 27 days before a special election. However, in federal elections, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Voting Act requires states to send all ballots no later than 45 days before an election.