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Grimes releases first TV ad focusing on McConnell

McConnellGrimesBy Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes released a new television ad Tuesday morning, her first criticizing U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In a throwback to the 2012 presidential campaign, Grimes, the Democratic nominee running against McConnell, takes her opponent to task over proposed changes to Medicare that were included in U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2011 budget proposal.

The ad, “Question from Don,” features Grimes sitting next to retired coal miner Don Disney of Cloverlick.

“Senator, I’m a retired coal miner,” Disney says in the ad. “I want to know how you could’ve voted to raise my Medicare costs by six thousand dollars. How are my wife and I supposed to afford that?”

The ad refers to a procedural vote that McConnell took in 2011 in favor of considering Ryan’s budget bill, which the liberal-leaning Center on Budget Policy and Priorities estimated would increase the out-of-pocket expenses for the average Medicare recipient from about $6,000 to $12,000 by 2022. Other groups have estimated that the bill would have produced a much smaller cost increase.

The bill, which failed in the Senate, would have exempted people who were already at or near retirement age from its changes.

The Grimes campaign said it was spending “six figures” to air the ad statewide. It is the first in a series that will feature Kentuckians asking critical questions of McConnell, the campaign said in a news release.

“Unlike Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes is running to protect and strengthen key programs for our seniors,” the campaign said. “Alison believes in keeping our promises to our nation’s seniors while preserving these programs for our children and grandchildren.”

Republicans responded by saying that Grimes has voiced support for the federal health care law pushed by President Barack Obama, which cuts about $700 billion from Medicare over 10 years by tweaking payment formulas for health care providers.

“It says a lot about the candidacy of Alison Lundergan Grimes that she’s a full four months away from the election and she already hit the panic button by resorting to the oldest, most cynical attack in the Obama playbook to scare Kentucky seniors,” said Allison Moore, McConnell’s spokeswoman. “The simple reality is that Sen. McConnell has fought to protect Medicare, while Alison Lundergan Grimes and her political benefactors have raided it by $700 billion to pay for Obamacare.”

Jack Conway raises $750,000 in seven weeks for gubernatorial campaign

Attorney General Jack Conway, who is seeking re-election, touted his record at the Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. Photo by Pablo AlcalaBy Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

Attorney General Jack Conway continued his effort to lock up the Democratic nomination in next year’s governor’s race with an overwhelming show of force, announcing Tuesday that his campaign has raised more than $750,000 since entering the race in early May.

Conway and his running mate, state Rep. Sannie Overly, reported having more than $700,000 in cash on hand.

While a number of other Democrats are considering a run for governor after this year’s elections are over, Conway has moved quickly to consolidate Democratic support, announcing his large fundraising haul after rolling out a series of major endorsements.

“Sannie and I are honored by the bipartisan support we’ve received from friends across Kentucky who believe in our vision of creating better jobs, building infrastructure and investing in early childhood and higher education,” Conway said in a statement. “We have a proven record of experience and following through on the commitments we’ve made to the people of this state. We are uniting Democrats and hard-working Kentuckians who believe that together we can build a better commonwealth to live, work and raise our families.”

When Conway first entered the race, a number of Democrats worried that his early entry might distract from the attention and resources Alison Lundergan Grimes will need to defeat U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this November.

In Tuesday’s news release, the campaign said it had held two fundraising events, “keeping the commitment to avoid fundraising conflicts with Alison Lundergan Grimes and the Kentucky House Democratic Caucus.”

Pro-McConnell group unveils ad that asks ‘Who is Alison Grimes?’

By Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

A fundraising group supporting U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election will begin running a new ad Tuesday that accuses Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes of “dodging the tough questions.”

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a 501(c)4 non-profit supporting McConnell, said it will spend $715,000 to run the ad from Tuesday through July 16. That figure is part of the $5.2 million that it and Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a pro-McConnell super PAC, announced it would spend this summer.

The latest ad asks “Who is Alison Grimes?” using press reports to accuse Grimes of refusing to answer questions and being a candidate who “waffles on the issues.”

Republican Hal Heiner gave $4 million to his campaign for governor

Hal Heiner, a former Louisville Metro councilman, announced Tuesday that he has entered the race for the Republican nomination for Kentucky governor. Heiner announced his candidacy at Star Manufacturing in Lexington. PHOTO BY PABLO ALCALA | STAFF By Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

Republican Hal Heiner gave $4 million of his own money to his campaign for governor during the second fundraising quarter of the year, Heiner’s campaign said Monday.

Heiner, a wealthy businessman and former Louisville Metro councilman, reported to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance that he had more than $3.9 million in cash on hand at the end of June after having amassed a total of more than $4.3 million since getting in the race in early March.

“It is going to take a political outsider to bring much needed changes to Frankfort, and Hal’s success in job attraction and growing a business makes him ideal for the job of governor,” campaign manager Joe Burgan said. “It is obvious that Hal is deeply committed to public service, and believes that the future of Kentucky is worth investing in.”

Heiner gave his campaign $200,000 during the first three months of the year and raised about $86,000.

While Heiner is the only announced Republican candidate for governor, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer told the Herald-Leader last week that he will announce his intentions in late July or early August, with an official announcement likely in mid-September.

Comer said Monday he was not surprised by the massive cash injection Heiner made to his campaign.

“I believe with all my heart that you cannot buy a race for governor,” Comer told the Herald-Leader. “You need grassroots support, and I do not see that support for Hal Heiner as I travel around the state.”

No ‘Comment’ this weekend; ‘KY Tonight’ will discuss state budget

“Comment on Kentucky,” a public-affairs show of the Kentucky Educational Television network, will be preempted this weekend because of the Fourth of July.

On the Monday, July 7, edition of “Kentucky Tonight” at 8 p.m. on KET and at KET.org/live, host Bill Goodman and guests will discuss the state budget and tax reform.

Scheduled guests are state Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford, chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee; state Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, vice chair of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee; Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy; and Bryan Sunderland, senior vice president of public affairs for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Viewers with questions and comments may send e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form at KET.org/kytonight. Viewers may also submit questions on Twitter @BillKET or on KET’s Facebook page, facebook.com/KET. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 1-800-494-7605.

“Kentucky Tonight” programs are archived online, made available via podcast, and rebroadcast on KET and KET KY. Archived programs, information about podcasts, and broadcast schedules are available at KET.org/kytonight.

“Kentucky Tonight” is a weekly KET production, produced by Deidre Clark. Bill Goodman is host and managing editor.

–Jack Brammer

Andy Beshear reports $1.1M on hand for attorney general race, picks up endorsements

By Jack Brammer

jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — Andy Beshear, a Democratic candidate for attorney general in 2015 and the son of Gov. Steve Beshear, reported Thursday that his campaign has nearly $1.1 million cash on hand, after raising $160,000 in the last three months.

Beshear, a Louisville attorney with Stites and Harbison, has raised more than $1.26 million total for his campaign. He started it last November.

The candidate also announced the endorsements of five prominent Democrats for his campaign – former Attorney Generals David Armstrong and Chris Gorman, state Auditor Adam Edelen, former state Auditor Crit Luallen and state House Speaker and former Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

Beshear reappoints 6 members to state education board

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear reappointed six members of the 12-member Kentucky Board of Education Tuesday.

Two other appointments are up but he will announce them at a later date, said Beshear spokesman Terry Sebastian.

The reappointments will serve through April 14, 2018.

They are Jonathan V. Parrent of Princeton, William L. Twyman of Cave City, Roger Lee Marcum of Bardstown, Mary Gwen Wheeler of Louisville, Nawanna B. Privett of Lexington and Grayson R. Boyd of Williamsport.

–Jack Brammer

Rand Paul will speak at Fancy Farm picnic

Rand Paul spoke Oct. 23, 2013, in Morehead. Kentucky's junior senator made 15 stops at restaurants and small rallies in the state during the week. Photo by John Flavell.By Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will be among the politicians speaking at the annual Fancy Farm picnic this year in far Western Kentucky.

Paul, who is considering a presidential run in 2016, will speak at the event for the fourth time. The picnic — attended by thousands seeking barbeque pork, bingo and old-fashioned political speaking — will be held on the grounds of St. Jerome Catholic Church on Aug. 2.

“Sen. Paul is looking forward to being at Fancy Farm again and helping united Kentucky Republicans press for victory this fall,” said Dan Bayens, Paul’s spokesman.

On Grimes’ behalf, Elizabeth Warren takes aim at McConnell

By Sam Youngman
syoungman@herald-leader.com

LOUISVILLE — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said she was delighted but “surprised” to be campaigning in Louisville Sunday morning.

Given that Warren’s stances on guns, coal and health care align closely with those of President Barack Obama, Republican allies of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also were surprised but delighted when Warren announced she was coming to the Bluegrass State to campaign for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

But Warren’s surprise wasn’t rooted in Red State vs. Blue State dogma. Instead, Warren said she was surprised to be standing in Kentucky as a United States senator, given her hard-scrabble upbringing in Oklahoma.

“I’m a little surprised because this is sure not where I started,” Warren told a crowd of Grimes’ supporters at the University of Louisville. She added: “I am the daughter of a janitor, and I ended up in the United States Senate.”

Calling Grimes “the next senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Warren blasted McConnell’s leadership of Republicans in the Senate, specifically targeting McConnell’s effort to block her proposal to allow refinancing of older student loans and temporarily lower the interest rate on a federal Stafford loan.

“That’s what this race is all about,” Warren said. “It’s about a man who stood up and filibustered the student loan bill. Think about that.”

‘Comment’ will discuss governor’s race; ‘KY Tonight’ will look at campaign finance law

With state Auditor Adam Edelen’s announcement that he will not run for governor next year, this weekend’s “Comment on Kentucky,” a public-affairs show of the Kentucky Educational Television network, will discuss the 2015 gubernatorial race.

Joining interim host Bill Bryant of Lexington’s WKYT-TV will be three journalists — Bill Estep of the Lexington Herald-Leader, Laura Cullen Glasscock of The Kentucky Gazette and Joe Gerth of The Courier-Journal.

The show will air live Friday at 8 p.m. on KET.

On the Monday, June 23, edition of “Kentucky Tonight” at 8 p.m. on KET and at KET.org/live, host Bill Goodman and guests will discuss campaign finance laws.

Scheduled guests are Richard Beliles, state chair of Common Cause Kentucky; Christopher Thacker, president of the Central Kentucky Lawyers Chapter of The Federalist Society; Joy Arnold, chair of Central Kentucky Move to Amend; and Paul Salamanca, a University of Kentucky law professor.

Viewers with questions and comments may send e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form at KET.org/kytonight. Viewers may also submit questions on Twitter @BillKET or on KET’s Facebook page, facebook.com/KET. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 1-800-494-7605.

“Kentucky Tonigh”t programs are archived online, made available via podcast, and rebroadcast on KET and KET KY. Archived programs, information about podcasts, and broadcast schedules are available at KET.org/kytonight.

“Kentucky Tonight is a weekly KET production, produced by Deidre Clark. Goodman is host and managing editor.

–Jack Brammer