WASHINGTON – Trial lawyers, anti-gun rhetoric and Harry Reid. Oh my.
As McConnell, the U.S. Senate Minority Leader looks for ways to tie Grimes to President Barack Obama and Democratic policies enormously unpopular in Kentucky, Grimes’ fundraiser in Sin City could help McConnell’s efforts.
Ticket prices at the Bellagio event run from $5,200 for a host to $500 for a “friend.”
FRANKFORT — The speaking order for politicians at this weekend’s 133rd annual Fancy Farm picnic has been set.
The political speaking will begin at 2 p.m. CDT Saturday on the grounds of St. Jerome Catholic Church in Graves County.
Mark Wilson, political organizer for the church picnic, said Monday that the no-shows are Gov. Steve Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and state treasurer Todd Hollenbach.
The political speaking, to be emceed by “Comment on Kentucky” host Ferrell Wellman, will begin at 2 p.m. CDT with five minutes of comments each by state Sen. Stan Humphries, R-Cadiz, and state Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfiled.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, then will get six minutes.
Following McConnell also with six minutes will be U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville.
Each of the attending state constitutional officers will get six minutes. In order of speaking, they will be Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Attorney General Jack Conway, Auditor Adam Edelen and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. Comer is a Republican; the others are Democrats.
Matt Bevin of Louisville, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate next year, will get five minutes. So will Ed Marksberry of Owensboro, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2015. They will flip a coin to see who goes first.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson will not be attending next month’s Fancy Farm political picnic, state Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon said Wednesday.
Logsdon said in an email that Beshear has a prior commitment related to job creation efforts, but “looks forward to attending next year in support of local, legislative and U.S.Senate Democratic candidates, including Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.”
Logsdon said in a phone interview that Abramson, who is expected to say by mid-August whether he will run for governor in 2015, will miss the picnic because of a family commitment.
By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes faces tough odds in her campaign to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but the race remains competitive, political pundits said Tuesday.
Grimes’ biggest problem: She must carry the political ball-and-chain that is President Barack Obama as she runs against a five-term incumbent who already has more than $8 million in his campaign war chest.
In 2012, Obama collected just under 40 percent of the vote in Kentucky, winning only four counties. Voters in Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District also booted Democrat Ben Chandler out of office, leaving Louisville’s John Yarmuth as the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation.
“That’s a huge problem for Grimes,” said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Report, a nonpartisan political newsletter that handicaps political races. “Mitch is not widely popular. But the bigger problem for Grimes is she is a Democrat in a federal race in a Republican-leaning state.”
Rothenberg ranks the race as “Republican favored,” but he said his staff is still analyzing the race in the aftermath of Grimes’ announcement on Monday that she will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge McConnell next year.
By Jack Brammer — email@example.com
FRANKFORT — Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Monday that she will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014.
Grimes’ entry into the race sets up what is expected to be an expensive, bruising contest between a wily, seasoned veteran who leads Republicans in the U.S. Senate and an emerging star in the Kentucky Democratic Party.
Grimes, a Lexington lawyer in her first term as secretary of state, has been conducting “due diligence” about entering the race since late April.
“I’m here today to tell you that I have met with my supporters. We have had a great conversation and determined and decided that we can make the best move, the best difference in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, by running for U.S. Senate,” Grimes told reporters after meeting privately with several supporters at a Frankfort office building near Democratic Party headquarters.
Grimes, 34, announced her intentions with her husband, Andrew Grimes, and former Democratic governors Julian Carroll and Martha Layne Collins by her side.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has been mulling a possible challenge to Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, has scheduled a news conference Monday afternoon to talk about the 2014 U.S. Senate race.
Grimes’ political consultant, Jonathan Hurst, said Grimes is to meet privately with supporters at 2 p.m. and members of the news media at 3 p.m. at Kentucky Democratic Party headquarters in Frankfort.
Hurst said he could not divulge what decision Grimes has made.
Grimes, in her first term as secretary of state, said in late April that she would give “due diligence” to possibly running in the race.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Though Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes remains undecided about challenging U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell next year, a pro-McConnell group is running newspaper ads linking her with President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, an independent super PAC, ran a full-page ad Sunday in The Paducah Sun that showed photos of Grimes, Obama and Pelosi, all of whom are Democrats.
“Alison Lundergan Grimes says she’s ‘listening…’” the ad says. “But who is she listening to?”
It continues: “When Alison Lundergan Grimes attacks Kentucky’s Senator Mitch McConnell for ‘obstruction,’ she’s signaling to Washington liberals that she would rubber-stamp the Obama-Pelosi agenda that McConnell is defending Kentuckians from.”
PDF: View the ad
The ad specifically mentions McConnell’s opposition to an overhaul of health insurance laws and Environmental Protection Agency regulations affecting the coal industry, among other things.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Recent interest by some well-known Democrats in possibly running for U.S. Senate shows Kentucky Democrats will be united in their efforts to oust Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell next year, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Wednesday.
Grimes, who is often mentioned as many Democrats’ favorite to make the race, said she still is weighing whether to run. She revealed no timetable when her decision will be made.
“I’m continuing to give it due diligence,” she said.
Grimes’ comments to reporters came after she participated in a Capitol Rotunda ceremony to recognize successful small businesses across the state.
Former Miss America Heather French Henry of Louisville is the latest prominent Democrat to emerge as a possible candidate in the 2014 U.S. Senate race. She said Tuesday that public and private figures are encouraging her to run but she is “not ready to confirm or deny” that possibility.
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.”