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Posts in "Ky. Senate"
April 23, 2013
What you might have missed “At the Races” on Tuesday …
- #MTsen: All eyes are on former Gov. Brian Schweitzer to see if he runs for the Democratic nod in Montana. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., suddenly announced his retirement Tuesday morning, and soon after a top Democratic official confirmed that Schweitzer was already considering the race.
- #HIsen: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa will likely challenge appointed Sen. Brian Schatz for the Democratic nomination in 2014. Notable timing here: Hours earlier, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee indicated it would support Schatz.
- #SDsen: Democrats remain divided over who should run for the open Senate seat: U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson or former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Neither has announced a campaign yet. Meanwhile, former Sen. James Abourezk joined the “Draft Brendan Johnson” movement.
- Shop Talk: A top GOP ad-maker, Nick Everhart, was fired from Rex Elsass’ firm via an email late on April 20.
- Shop Talk: A former campaign manager for Sen. Joe Manchin III has joined the new Democratic consulting firm Mack-Sumner. That firm sound familiar? Earlier this year, conflicting interests split Kevin Mack’s longtime partnership with Jim Crounse and the direct-mail firm Mack|Crounse Group.
April 15, 2013
Capitol Police will assist the FBI in investigating a secretly recorded campaign strategy session between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his aides.
“The FBI is the lead investigative agency. We are providing them with assistance in the case,” Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus told CQ Roll Call on Monday afternoon. Full story
April 11, 2013
Updated 2:05 p.m.| A Louisville news radio station reported Thursday that Progress Kentucky, a group seeking to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was behind the secret recording of a McConnell campaign strategy session.
WFPL reported that Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison, a founder and volunteer for the group, respectively, “bragged” about recording the meeting to Jacob Conway, a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Party executive committee.
(See also in Roll Call: Secret Recording Spurs Ethics Complaint Against McConnell)
Conway told WFPL that they stood in the hallway of the Lousiville office building where McConnell’s campaign headquarters is located and recorded the meeting through a vent in the door. Full story
Updated 4:20 p.m. | An outside watchdog group filed ethics complaints against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suggesting possible misuse of official staff for campaign purposes.
“Using taxpayer-funded resources to pay staffers to dig up dirt on political opponents isn’t just an ethics violation, it’s a federal crime,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement that explained the complaints filed with both the FBI and the Senate Ethics Committee.
The allegation is that legislative assistants were working on government time for political purposes, conducting opposition research against potential Democratic challenger Ashley Judd. As CREW itself acknowledges, the campaign has said that the individuals in question conducted the research on their own time.
April 9, 2013
Maybe you were hiding under a rock today. Or stuck in multiple, hours-long meetings. Or outside enjoying the unseasonably nice Washington, D.C., weather.
In any case, here is a timeline to catch you up on the hottest political story of the day involving Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and #BluegrassGate:
- On Tuesday morning, Mother Jones published a recording from a Feb. 2 strategy meeting at McConnell’s campaign headquarters. The juiciest part of the surreptitiously recorded conversation? McConnell’s team plotted to use Ashley Judd’s own revelations about her mental health against her. Three words: Pink fuzzy socks.
- McConnell’s mad. Really mad. He asks the FBI to investigate.
- Next step: McConnell’s team fires off a fundraising pitch blaring, “Liberals Wiretap McConnell’s Office.”
- McConnell goes to the mics to decry (in front of TV cameras) the secret recording. By this point, references to Watergate and Richard Nixon are rampant on Twitter and in the halls of the Capitol. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran chimes in.
- There are only two ways the recording could have been made — via an illegal bugging or from someone who attended the meeting — according to National Journal.
- Mother Jones can publish the recording without any legal ramifications, the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple reasons.
- After NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring pestered the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee all day long, they demanded an apology.
Stay tuned, folks. This is just starting to get good.
In his first public comments on the subject, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell likened the secret recording of one of his campaign’s strategy sessions to the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.
“Last week they were attacking my wife’s ethnicity and apparently also bugging my headquarters, much like Nixon and Watergate,” said McConnell in a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “That’s what the political left does these days.”
The Kentucky Republican’s response echoed statements his campaign had released Tuesday morning in response to a Mother Jones report that published the recorded conversation at his campaign office.
(See also in Roll Call: McConnell Fundraises Off Secret Recording)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign is raising money off a secret recording of their February strategy meetings — as the Kentucky Republican’s aides reached out to the FBI to investigate it.
“Breaking: Liberals Wiretap McConnell’s Office: Stand with Senator McConnell against the liberal media’s illegal and underhanded tactics,” reads the fundraising page from McConnell’s campaign, referring to the recording that appeared in Mother Jones on Tuesday.
McConnell’s campaign, known as “Team Mitch,” launched a promoted tweet Tuesday morning that sends supporters to a new page on the campaign website where donations can be made.
“The liberal left is exposed for illegally wiretapping our campaign HQ,” the campaign wrote on Twitter. “Stand with Sen. McConnell against this.”
(See also in Roll Call: McConnell Campaign Notified FBI About Secret Recording)
Updated 11:15 a.m. | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., re-election campaign says they are working with the FBI to take action against a secret recording taken at the campaign headquarters and published in Mother Jones on Tuesday.
The recording revealed a campaign strategy session during which McConnell and his campaign aides plotted to run against potential opponents — including actress and activist Ashley Judd, who decided against a bid last month.
“Senator McConnell’s campaign is working with the FBI and has notified the local U.S. Attorney in Louisville, per FBI request, about these recordings,” McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a statement. “Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell’s campaign office without consent. By whom and how that was accomplished will presumably be the subject of a criminal investigation.”
Updated 11:15 a.m.
“We’ve always said the Left would stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Watergate-style tactics to bug campaign headquarters are above and beyond,” Benton added.
(See also in Roll Call: Goodbye, Ashley Judd? Why McConnell Might Be More Worried)
April 5, 2013
When many Kentucky voters head to the polls for next year’s Senate primary and general elections, they’ll for the first time be able to make their next stop a local watering hole or liquor store.
On Thursday, Democratic Gov. Steven L. Beshear signed a package of liquor law changes that included a repeal of the antebellum-era prohibition of alcohol sales while polling places are open on Election Day in Kentucky.
“My administration, working cooperatively with the General Assembly, is taking an important step toward improving the business structure of alcohol sales and licensing in Kentucky. Not since the days of Prohibition has Kentucky undertaken such a comprehensive rewriting and modernization of our laws governing alcohol,” Beshear said in a statement.
March 28, 2013
A day after actress Ashley Judd declined to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democrats went up with a week-long radio advertisement Thursday attacking the Kentucky Republican.
The basketball themed, 60-second radio spot marks the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s first campaign advertisement of the 2014 cycle. A DSCC aide declined to go into detail about the exact size of the buy but said it cost “five figures or more.”
Democrats face an uphill battle in the Bluegrass State, which has consistently voted for Republicans for federal office in recent cycles. What’s more, McConnell — and his $7.4 million campaign war chest — is known for his brutal campaigns. Despite this, the Kentucky race remains one of Democrats’ best opportunities to pick up a seat in 2014.
Several local Democrats, plus Judd, have declined to challenge McConnell. However, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has reportedly spoken with the DSCC about running and, according to a local television station WHAS, could file exploratory committee paperwork as early as next week.
The DSCC could be using this spot to show Grimes they are willing to support her if she enters the race:
March 27, 2013
Updated: 6:45 p.m. | Actress Ashley Judd announced Wednesday on Twitter that she will not challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky next year.
“Thank you for these months of remarkable support & encouragement, for your voices, exhortations, & prayers. I have decided,” Judd wrote. “After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family. Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for the Senate.”
The Washington Post first reported that the Democrat would take a pass on challenging the top Senate Republican, noting that the potential candidacy of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes made her decision easier.
Although Judd would have been able to raise a significant amount of money, Democrats in the state were concerned about her candidacy and questioned how it would affect other members of the party on the ballot next year. Still, Judd hinted at a run in a speech just last week.
Update: Louisville TV station WHAS reported that Grimes has spoken with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and plans to file an exploratory committee as early as next week. When asked by CQ Roll Call, a DSCC spokesman would not comment on the party’s recruitment.
March 22, 2013
Updated: 4:29 p.m. | Actress Ashley Judd made a few rare references to her possible bid to challenge Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during a speech in Cincinnati on Friday.
According to local FOX affiliate WXIX-TV, Judd mentioned the sizable campaign war chest that McConnell is expected to leverage during his re-election campaign next year. At a speech to the American Counseling Association, Judd joked that her mother, country singer Naomi Judd, wants to turn her garage into a campaign headquarters, according to the local report. Full story
March 13, 2013
Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, stars in a 30-second television spot released by the Kentucky Republican’s campaign.
In the spot set to air on Thursday, Chao pushes back against attack ads that have targeted her husband and references tweets from the liberal group Progress Kentucky about her Chinese ancestry.
“You’ve seen the ads attacking my husband. As Mitch McConnell’s wife, I’ve learned to expect them,” Chao says, with soft music in the background. “Now far-left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity. Even attacking Mitch’s patriotism, because he’s married to me. That’s how low some people will stoop.”
March 12, 2013
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has bought six figures worth of airtime to back a television ad campaign beginning on Thursday. The buy marks the start of what could be one of the cycle’s most contentious races.
McConnell’s ads, up a year and eight months before his name appears on a general election ballot, will air for a week in the Lexington, Ky., and Louisville, Ky., media markets. The buy is in the “low six figures,” a McConnell aide told CQ Roll Call.
Democrats framed the early ad buy as a sign of weakness.
“Running campaign commercials almost two years before an election is an unprecedented admission of fear for a sitting senator,” Dan Logsdon, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement.
March 1, 2013
Actress Ashley Judd spoke to a ballroom of college students about public health on Friday afternoon, never directly addressing what she referred to as “elephant in the room” — a potential Senate bid against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
At a long-planned event at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Judd spoke for more than an hour about global women’s health, gender equality and violence against women.
In recent weeks, Judd has sent increasingly clear signs that she is moving toward a Senate run. She reportedly met with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, had dinner in Louisville, Ky., with Democratic insiders and donors and has reached out to top state Democratic officials.
But in her speech to about 100 students, Judd’s only references to her potential Senate run were oblique. One student asking a question said she was nervous.
“I’m a lot more nervous than y’all are, I promise,” Judd replied. “I mean, there are people here who don’t give a rat’s you-know-what about public health.”