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April 24, 2014

Posts in "Ky. Senate"

April 21, 2014

Mitch McConnell Launches Ad for Final Month of Primary

Mitch McConnell Launches Ad for Final Month of Primary

McConnell has one month left in his primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest TV ad kicks off his closing argument for the final month of the Kentucky Republican primary and sets up his message for the start of the general election.

The positive spot, launched Monday and running for an undetermined amount of time, paints McConnell, a five-term incumbent, as “a genuine Kentucky workhorse.” It highlights his work in the Senate against the president’s health care law and “war on coal,” as well as his efforts against tax increases and on a local fishing issue.

“Mitch McConnell fights for our values, our future and our jobs,” the ad’s narrator says.

Full story

March 7, 2014

Tea Party Senate Candidates Descend on CPAC

Tea Party Senate Candidates Descend on CPAC

Maness is running for Senate in Louisiana. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Much of the attention surrounding the Conservative Political Action Conference is understandably focused on the plethora of Republicans here who may be running for president at this time next year.

But, mostly offstage and behind the scenes, a handful of tea-party-backed Senate candidates — each running uphill against better-funded Republicans — are here among the thousands of conservative activists. They’re shaking hands, meeting potential supporters and raising some money.

They include Matt Bevin of Kentucky and Milton Wolf of Kansas, each waging primary challenges to Republican senators. Also in attendance are lesser-known hopefuls Rob Maness of Louisiana, Greg Brannon of North Carolina and David Clements of New Mexico, plus Joe Miller of Alaska, who are fighting for their party’s nomination to take on Democratic senators.

Kentucky, Louisiana, Alaska and North Carolina are on the front lines of the battle for Senate control. Republicans need to pick up a net six seats to win the majority.

“It’s a good opportunity in one centralized location to meet as many people as possible, and get your name and face in front of them,” said Maness, a retired Air Force colonel who is battling GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy and Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in Louisiana’s jungle primary. Full story

March 6, 2014

McConnell Dodges Criticism From Both Sides With Vote on Gillibrand Bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made what appeared to be a politically savvy move Thursday, voting to advance a measure from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to remove the prosecution of serious crime, including sexual assault, from the military chain of command.

McConnell was one of 11 Republicans to vote to break a filibuster of the bill, which had the support of conservative firebrands Rand Paul, also of Kentucky, and Ted Cruz. Though the measure failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to proceed, McConnell’s vote could potentially inoculate him from attacks on both his left and right flank.

McConnell, who has the endorsement of Paul, has been careful this Congress especially to vote with the junior senator on as many measures as possible. The veteran Kentucky lawmaker is facing a challenge from conservative Matt Bevin, who likely would have attacked McConnell for breaking with Paul and Cruz.

Full story

Condoleezza Rice Headlines McConnell Fundraiser at Rupp Arena

Condoleezza Rice Headlines McConnell Fundraiser at Rupp Arena

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is headlining a fundraiser in Lexington, Ky., Thursday for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a spokesperson for the campaign confirmed.

The event, which will also feature McConnell’s wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, is scheduled to be held in the locker room at Rupp Arena, where the University of Kentucky plays basketball.

Full story

McConnell Vows Conservative Agenda if He’s Senate Leader

McConnell Vows Conservative Agenda if Hes Senate Leader

McConnell brandishes a musket on stage during the speech. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised a ballroom full of activists Thursday that he would fight “tooth and nail” for a conservative agenda if he takes the helm of a Republican majority next year.

That, of course, will require Republicans to pick up six Senate seats in November and McConnell to win his own re-election in Kentucky. The five-term incumbent faces a GOP primary challenger who regularly attacks him as an insufficient conservative leader.

McConnell walked on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference to applause, thanks in part to a large rifle he held over his head before handing it to conservative icon Tom Coburn, who is resigning from his Oklahoma Senate seat at the end of the year. He went on to blast President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid before laying out how the Senate would be run under his leadership. Full story

February 25, 2014

McConnell Says Bill Clinton Is His Electoral Rabbit’s Foot

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that former President Bill Clinton can stump in Kentucky whenever he wants, characterizing the Democratic icon as his election good-luck charm.

Clinton campaigned in Louisville earlier Tuesday for McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has put the Republican-leaning state in play for Democrats. Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, is a longtime Democratic operative and ally of the powerful Clinton family.

McConnell, who faces opposition from Grimes on his left and tea-party-backed Matt Bevin on his right, seemed unfazed by the political activity at home.

“I welcome him back,” McConnell told reporters in the Capitol.

“The last time he ran in 1996 he eked out a narrow victory in Kentucky, while I beat the current governor by 160,000 votes, 10 points,” McConnell said. “In 2008, both Bill and Hillary Clinton came to town, including the day before the election, and I won by 100,000 votes. So I welcome President Clinton back to Kentucky. Every time he’s come its been really good for me.”

Full story

February 24, 2014

Outside Group Ad Touts McConnell’s Coal Efforts

Outside Group Ad Touts McConnells Coal Efforts

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican primary challenger in Kentucky hammer each other over the airwaves, a nonprofit group has launched another spot highlighting McConnell’s efforts to oppose the Obama administration.

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a 501(c)4, released Monday a 60-second radio touting McConnell’s Saving Coal Jobs Act. The ad is backed by a $75,000 buy.

“Senator Mitch McConnell is fighting to save Kentucky jobs from Barack Obama’s job killing regulations, which have already cost us thousands of jobs and put families and communities at risk,” said Scott Jennings, a senior adviser to the group. Full story

February 19, 2014

America Rising Names Top Opposition Research Targets for 2014

America Rising, a GOP group that procures and publishes research on Democratic candidates, announced Wednesday its first wave of top targets for the midterm elections.

The list of candidates, posted on America Rising’s newly launched website, includes information on almost all of the Democratic House and Senate candidates in the GOP’s top pickup opportunity races in 2014.

“We’ll roll out additional candidates as the map changes and expands, but that’s our initial list of candidates that we have research on,” said Tim Miller, executive director of America Rising.

America Rising also zeroed in on seven top targets:

Full story

February 12, 2014

McConnell, Cornyn Walk Plank on Debt Limit to Ire of Conservatives

Senate Republican leaders Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas on Wednesday voted to advance legislation that would increase the nation’s borrowing capacity — but not before they spent 40 minutes of the open vote trying to get others to do it for them, likely out of fear of the conservative blowback that came almost immediately.

Earlier this week, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, demanded the 60-vote procedural move, which put McConnell and Cornyn in the uncomfortable position of having to find five Republicans to join Democrats in supporting the debt ceiling measure. By doing so, Cruz gave perfect fodder to tea party groups and candidates, like the Senate Conservatives Fund and McConnell opponent Matt Bevin, against in-cycle Republicans who would need to vote for the bill as opposed to just letting Democrats do it themselves with a simple majority.

Within minutes, the two leaders were getting hit on social media by their opponents.

January 22, 2014

McConnell Releases First Two TV Ads of 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released his first two TV ads of the election year on Wednesday — positive spots emphasizing that he has utilized his position on Capitol Hill to help Kentuckians in need.

Facing a competitive re-election, the Kentucky Republican’s new ads tout his efforts on behalf of workers who got cancer after being exposed to high levels of radiation at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in southwestern Kentucky. One of the workers, Robert Pierce, who suffered from throat cancer, is featured in both ads and can only speak in a whisper.

“These days I don’t I have much of a voice, but I and so many Kentuckians have been helped by someone with a strong voice, Mitch McConnell,” he says. McConnell ran an ad highlighting this same theme at the start of the 2008 election year.

The ads are backed by a “significant, six-figure buy” and will air statewide. McConnell is defending his seat against fellow Republican Matt Bevin in the primary and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Full story

December 31, 2013

Most Fascinating Races of 2014: Kentucky Senate

Most Fascinating Races of 2014: Kentucky Senate

McConnell has primary and general challenges in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There isn’t too much to see in Kentucky, really. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election only features a primary fight for the future of the Republican Party and a well-connected Democrat who’s benefiting from an entire party’s interest in taking him out.

The messaging in the race shifts fast enough to cause whiplash. As the top target of both national Democrats and the tea party, McConnell has been charged for being both the biggest obstructionist in Congress and for failing to obstruct President Barack Obama’s agenda enough. Full story

December 15, 2013

The Most Expensive Senate Race of the Cycle — So Far

The Most Expensive Senate Race of the Cycle — So Far

Hagan's race has already witnessed a barrage of advertising. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

About halfway through the midterm election cycle, North Carolina is on pace to host the most expensive Senate race of 2014.

But the Tar Heel State shouldn’t necessarily get too comfortable in the top spot.

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election battle is one of at least four Senate contests where outside spending has already eclipsed the $2 million mark. The others include the re-election races of Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The potential for Republicans to win back the Senate majority, combined with the media-market makeup of the competitive landscape, has invited a superfluity of early spending. Republicans need a net gain of six seats next year, and most of the competitive races are for Democrat-held seats in less populous states.

“Given the president’s plummeting job approval ratings, there is growing optimism that Republicans can win back the Senate, and that’s why you’re seeing some very early spending in key U.S. Senate races,” GOP media consultant Erik Potholm said. “And Democrats, especially their vulnerable incumbents, are feeling that same pressure — that’s why Sens. Landrieu and Pryor are on the air.” Full story

December 11, 2013

Super PAC Ad Ties McConnell Opponent to Obama on Coal

A super PAC backing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is again hitting the radio airwaves to tie the Kentucky Republican’s opponent to national Democrats.

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership’s latest ad argues that Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes would be an ally to President Barack Obama’s war on coal, an issue likely to be at the forefront for the duration of the race. A previous ad from the group tied Grimes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on the issue of Obamacare.

A spokesman for the group said it spent $90,000 to air the ad statewide from Wednesday through Dec. 17. Here is the radio ad airing for the next week: Full story

December 2, 2013

Chamber Touts McConnell’s Coal Efforts in TV Ad

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is getting a little help from his friends on the airwaves as he fends off challenges to his re-election next year.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced it will launch a TV ad on Tuesday that touts the Kentucky Republican’s efforts against proposed regulations on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. The ad, which will run statewide for 10 days, brands McConnell as “a fighter who never lets Kentucky down.”

Full story

November 12, 2013

New Dem Poll Shows McConnell in Tight Race

New Dem Poll Shows McConnell in Tight Race

McConnell is up for re-election in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

As a new poll showed a tight race in Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held a news conference in Louisville to press for the repeal of the health care overhaul and tie his opponent to the Senate Democrats who voted for it.

The poll, conducted by Democratic firm Lake Research Partners for MoveOn.org’s political action arm, found McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes tied at 37 percent in a potential general-election matchup. It’s the latest evidence that the Bluegrass State will be among the top races of 2014.

Speaking behind a podium at his campaign headquarters, McConnell said Democrats essentially took a “meat ax” to the country’s health care system with the new law and are now panicked over the repercussions. After referring to the health care website’s troubles, he noted that 15 Democrats up for re-election next year met with the president at the White House last week to discuss the law. Full story

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