Chicken Fried Politics

Home » Posts tagged 'Kentucky Senate'

Tag Archives: Kentucky Senate

Kentucky GOP okays switch to 2016 caucus to help U.S. Senator Rand Paul

Decision to change presidential selection process clears way for Paul to seek both re-election and the White House

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

kentucky mugBOWLING GREEN Kentucky (CFP) — Republican Party leaders in Kentucky have agreed to switch their presidential nominating contest in 2016 from a primary to a caucus, clearing a potential hurdle in U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s expected run for the GOP presidential nomination.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul

U.S. Senator Rand Paul

After a closed-door meeting March 7, the state party’s executive committee approved the change, which must still be approved by the full party central committee in August.

Paul appeared at the executive committee meeting in Bowling Green to meet with party leaders and lobby for the change. His campaign has agreed to raise money to cover the costs associated with holding a caucus.

However, the proposed change was blasted by the Bluegrass State’s top elections official, Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who said the switch to a caucus would introduce “chaos” into the process by disenfranchising voters who would not be able to attend.

“I call on the Republican Party of Kentucky to provide details on how all their voters would be able to participate and how the party intends to uphold the integrity of the process,” she said.

Paul has already kicked off his Senate re-election campaign and is expected to make a decision on the presidential race this spring.

Grimes, who ran unsuccessfully against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, has been insisting that a state law prohibiting a candidate from appearing for two different offices on the same ballot precludes Paul from seeking re-election to the Senate while also running in the May 2016 presidential primary.

Kentucky Democrats, who control the state House and the governorship, have blocked efforts by Paul’s allies to change the state law against political double-dipping

The switch to a caucus, which would be held on a different day earlier in the year, would get around the problem, although if Paul were to win the GOP presidential nomination, he would face the same problem in the November 2016 general election.

Paul maintains the law is unconstitutional because of a 1995 Supreme Court ruling that a state can’t impose its own restrictions in races for federal offices. He has hinted that he may file a federal lawsuit if any attempt is made to keep him from seeking both offices.

A Bluegrass/Survey USA poll last September showed 66 percent of state voters and 54 percent of Republicans were opposed to changing the law.

There is historical precedent for running for both the presidency or vice presidency and Congress at the same time, most recently in 2012 when U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, was re-elected to his House seat in Wisconsin.

Vice President Joe Biden also won Senate re-election in 2008 on the same day he was elected vice president, as did Lyndon Johnson in 1960.

The only other senator up for re-election in 2016 considering a White House bid, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, has said he will give up his Senate seat if he pursues the Republican presidential nomination.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul seeking re-election in Kentucky

Paul’s decision to run for the Senate again comes as he also considers a White House bid

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

kentucky mugBOWLING GREEN, Kentucky (CFP) — U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has announced that he will seek a second term in the Senate in 2016, even as he considers a run for the GOP presidential nomination.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul

U.S. Senator Rand Paul

“I ran for office because, like many Kentuckians, I was alarmed at the problems facing our country,” Paul said in a December 2 statement announcing his re-election bid. “I stand with Kentucky in this fight, and I hope to continue together in the task of repairing and revitalizing our great nation.”

Paul, 51, kicked off his campaign with endorsements from Kentucky’s entire Republican congressional delegation and legislative leaders in Frankfort — a stark change from 2010, when his upstart Senate bid was opposed by most of the commonwealth’s GOP establishment.

Among those endorsing Paul was Kentucky’s other U.S. Senator, Mitch McConnell, soon to be the majority leader.

In 2010, McConnell backed Paul’s primary rival. But the two made peace after Paul won, and Paul backed McConnell in his primary fight earlier this year.

Kentucky law does not allow Paul’s name to appear on the ballot for both Senate and president in the May 17, 2016 primary. However, Kentucky Republicans could get around that problem by shifting to a presidential caucus on a different date.

Paul has said he thinks the state law prohibiting him from seeking both offices is unconstitutional. Democrats, who control both the state House and the governorship, have so far blocked Republican efforts to change the law.

Four southern U.S. Senate races are still too close to call

GOP holding leads in Arkansas and West Virginia; Democrats holding tough in Georgia and Kentucky

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

southern-states-lgWASHINGTON (CFP) — Two weeks out from election day, races for four southern U.S. Senate seats — two held by each party — are still too close to call, with control of the Senate hanging in the balance.

The latest polling shows races in North Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia are within the margin of error, while the race in Louisiana now seems certain to be heading toward a December runoff.

Depending on how these Southern races turn out, the question of which party will control the Senate could linger for more than a month before runoffs in Louisiana and possibly Georgia.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton

U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton

However, Republicans appear poised to pick up an open Democratic seat in West Virginia, and GOP U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton appears to have opened up a small lead over incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Pryor in Arkansas.

Democrats hold only eight out of 28 southern Senate seats. One of those seats, in West Virginia, is likely gone, and three others — in Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina — are in jeopardy.

The good news for Democrats is that two GOP-held seats, in Kentucky and Georgia, have turned out to be surprisingly competitive, despite the Republican tilt in both of those states.

Here are the current states of the southern Senate races:

Arkansas: The race between Cotton and Pryor has been neck-and-neck for the better part of a year, as outside groups poured tons of money into the Natural
State. But a Talk Business and Politics/Hendrix College poll released October 15 showed that Cotton has opened up an 8-point lead, the third media poll in a row that put the challenger ahead.

Louisiana: Recent polling shows Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and her chief Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, about even but both far from the 50 percent either would need to avoid a runoff in the state’s jungle primary, where all candidates from all parties run in the same race. That would set up a December 6 runoff between the two, a head-to-head match-up that’s still too close to call.

West Virginia: This race is to pick a successor to retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, and it looks increasingly like a GOP pickup, with U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito opening up a significant lead over Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. A CBS News/New York Times/YouGov poll in early October had Capito ahead by 23 points.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Kentucky: The Senate’s top Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is in a pitched battle with Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Recent polls have shown the race as either too close to call or with McConnell slightly in the lead.

Georgia: This race, to pick a successor to retiring Republican U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, is a contest between two political newcomers, Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn. Despite Georgia’ GOP tilt, Nunn has run a strong race, and the latest polling shows the contest within the margin of error. An interesting twist in Georgia is that if neither Perdue nor Nunn wins a majority, they would meet in a runoff December 10 — a possibility if the race is close and votes are syphoned off by third-party candidates.

North Carolina: Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is seeking a second term against Republican State House Speaker Thom Tillis. Recent polling has shown this race is also within the margin of error.

Poll: Kentuckians don’t want Rand Paul to run for both Senate and White House

Two-thirds of Bluegrass State voters, and a majority of Republicans, opposing changing state law to allow Paul to run for both offices

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriendpolitics.com editor

kentucky mugLOUISVILLE (CFP) — A new poll finds that Kentucky voters are less than enamored with the prospect of U.S. Senator Rand Paul seeking re-election in 2016 while also running for the Republican presidential nomination.

Rand Paul

Rand Paul

In a Bluegrass/Survey USA poll released September 1, 66 percent of state voters said they’re against changing Kentucky law to let Paul pursue both offices, something that is currently not allowed.

A majority of Republicans, 54 percent, were opposed, while only 36 percent supported the idea. Opposition rose to 57 percent among independent voters and 78 percent among Democrats.

Paul, who is considering a 2010 White House bid, maintains the Kentucky restriction is unconstitutional because of a 1995 Supreme Court ruling that a state can’t impose its own restrictions in races for federal offices.

GOP legislative leaders have been considering trying to change the law. However, that task is complicated by the fact that Democrats hold a four-seat majority Kentucky House, although that could change during legislative elections in November.

The law would only be necessary if Paul was successful in getting the Republican nomination. If he ran in the presidential primaries and didn’t win, he would be free to run for re-election to the Senate, as his father, Ron Paul, did in his U.S. House seat in Texas after he sought the White House in 2008.

The Senate seat of  2016 GOP presidential contender, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, is also up in 2016. But Rubio has said he will give up his Senate seat if he decides to run for president.

There is recent precedent for seeking national office and a Senate seat at the same time. In 2008, Joe Biden ran for both vice president and a Senate seat in Delaware, and, in 1960, Lyndon Johnson won re-election to the Senate from Texas at the same time he was winning the vice presidency.

In 2012, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan ran for both the House and the vice presidency at the same time. He kept his House seat after the Romney-Ryan ticket was defeated.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell turns back Tea Party primary challenge

In Georgia, David Perdue and Jack Kingston advance to July 22 Republican primary runoff

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

kentucky mugLOUISVILLE (CFP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell easily turned back a Tea Party-inspired challenge Tuesday to win the GOP nomination for a sixth term representing Kentucky.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, St. Simons businessman David Perdue and U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah won spots in a July 22 runoff for the Republican nomination for the Peach State’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

McConnell took 60 percent of the May 20 vote, compared to 36 percent for Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, who had the backing of outside Republican groups critical of McConnell’s leadership, including the Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks.

However, the commonwealth’s other senator, Rand Paul, bucked his Tea Party supporters to back McConnell.

McConnell will now face Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in November.

U.S. Senate hopeful David Perdue

U.S. Senate hopeful David Perdue

In Georgia, Perdue and Kingston sat atop a seven-candidate field, with Perdue at 31 percent and Kingston at 26. Former Secretary of State Karen Handel of Roswel came in third at 22 percent.

Two other sitting U.S. House members, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, trailed the three front-runners. Some establishment figures in the GOP had expressed concern that a victory by either Gingery or Broun would turn the Georgia seat into a Democratic target in November.

Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, easily won the Democratic Senate nomination for the seat current held by U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton both won their Senate primaries and will face off in November.

Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Matt Bevin slammed for speech at cockfighting rally

Bevin’s claim that the Founding Fathers were cockfighters is lampooned in new radio ad from Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

kentucky mugLOUISVILLE (CFP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is lampooning his Republican primary rival, Matt Bevin, for speaking at a cockfighting rally and then asserting that the Founding Fathers were “very, very involved” in the blood sport.

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin

The McConnell campaign is airing a new radio ad calling Bevin “a comedy of errors” and playing an excerpt from The Colbert Report where host Stephen Colbert made fun of Bevin’s speech at the rally.

“Matt Bevin keeps making national headlines, but not in a good way,” the ad says. “Matt Bevin, a comedy of errors. But don’t let the joke be on you.”

Bevin spoke at a rally in Corbin, Kentucky, on March 29, sponsored by the American Gamefowl Defense Network. The group supports legalizing cockfighting, which is currently illegal in all 50 states.

In an subsequent interview with WHAS radio in Louisville, Bevin said he thought the event was a state’s rights rally and wasn’t aware it was in support of cockfighting. He also said he didn’t “condone the sport.”

“But here’s the thing: I’m not going to disparage people for exercising their First Amendment rights,” Bevin told WHAS, before adding an historical analysis that McConnell is now using in the radio ad:

“But it’s interesting when you look at cockfighting, and dogfighting as well, this isn’t something new. It wasn’t invented in Kentucky. For example, I mean, the Founding Fathers were all, many of them, very actively involved in all of this and always have been,” Bevin said.

The Humane Society of the United States’ Legislative Fund is calling on Bevin to drop out of the Senate race.

“Matt Bevin showed appalling judgment in associating himself with this band of lawbreakers and perpetrators of unspeakable animal cruelty,” said Michael Markarian, president of the group. “He’s brought discredit upon the state of Kentucky, and he should withdraw from the Senate race.”

Bevin, 47, of Louisville is a former investment adviser who now runs his family’s bell manufacturing company in New Hampshire. This is his first run for political office. His primary challenge to McConnell has drawn financial support from national conservative groups, including FreedomWorks and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

McConnell, 72, has been in the Senate since 1985. He was elected GOP leader in 2007 and would become majority leader if he wins re-election and Republicans pick up the six seats they need to take control.

Recent polling has shown McConnell with a wide lead in the primary race.

Whoever wins the Republican primary on May 20 will face Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general election this fall.

McConnell is the Democrats’ top Senate target in 2014 and likely the only chance they have to pick up a seat anywhere in the South.

Mitch McConnell’s GOP challenger picks up another conservative endorsement

FreedomWorks, a conservative activist group with Tea Party ties, comes out for Matt Bevin

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

kentucky mugLOUISVILLE, Kentucky (CFP) — The conservative jihad against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky continues, with the group FreedomWorks endorsing McConnell’s Republican primary challenger, Matt Bevin.

Kentucky Senate challenger Matt Bevin

Kentucky Senate challenger Matt Bevin

“Matt Bevin is a great upgrade for Kentuckians who are serious about transparency, fiscal responsibility and accountability in government,” said Matt Kibbe, the president of the FreedomWorks, in a January 22 statement.

McConnell’s campaign dismissed the endorsement, accusing FreedomWorks of changing its focus “from conservative reform to conservative cannibalism.”

FreedomWorks, which bills itself as a champion of smaller government and lower taxes, has a history of backing anti-establishment candidates in GOP primaries, including U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida.

The group is backing Bevin even though the its own scorecard of Senate votes this year gives McConnell a rating of 73 out of 100.

In 2010, the group endorsed Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s successful challenge to Senate veteran Richard Lugar. Despite Indiana’s Republican tilt, Mourdock went on to lose in November after he said that if a woman gets pregnant during a rape, the pregnancy is “God’s plan.”

Republican leaders, including former Bush political consigliere Karl Rove, have been critical of FreedomWorks and two other prominent groups, the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth, for backing weak contenders in Republican primaries, in the process helping Democrats keep control of the Senate.

The Senate Conservatives Fund has poured nearly $1 million into Bevin’s campaign, counting both direct contributions and independent expenditures made on his behalf. The Club for Growth has not yet entered the Kentucky race.

Bevin, 47, of Louisville is a former investment adviser who now runs his family’s bell manufacturing company in New Hampshire. This is his first run for political office.

mcconnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

McConnell, 71, has been in the Senate since 1985. He was elected GOP leader in 2007 and would become majority leader if he wins re-election and Republicans pick up the six seats they need to take control.

McConnell has a substantial financial advantage over Bevin, outraising him by a 10-to-1 margin.

Whoever wins the Republican primary will face Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is the only Democrat in race.

McConnell is the Democrats’ top Senate target in 2014 and likely the only chance they have to pick up a seat anywhere in the South.

%d bloggers like this: