Just over a fourth of registered voters are projected to cast ballots in next month’s election. Secretary of State Elaine Walker predicts between 25 to 28 percent of eligible voters will turn-out for the November 8th election. While Kentucky’s six-statewide campaigns are in the final stretch, there’s also a great deal of media attention focused on next year’s presidential race. Walker’s says it may be distracting voters. "You know, I’m not sure if the presidential race is having an impact on the local….it could…but…my feeling is more that people are not really angry with the state of the commonwealth,” said Walker.
While the number of registered Republicans in Northern Kentucky has increased in recent years, Democrats think Gov. Steve Beshear this year can repeat or exceed his success in Northern Kentucky four years ago. He won Kenton County by 10 percent and Campbell County by 11 percent and lost the heavily Republican Boone County by 1.5 percent in 2007 en route to unseating Republican Ernie Fletcher as governor. Both Beshear and his Republican challenger David Williams see Northern Kentucky as critical in winning statewide office and stumped last week in the region.
A year ago, “Aqua Buddha” made national headlines after Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and current Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway ran ads focusing on allegations that his opponent, eventual U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, was part of a group at Baylor University that worshipped a god called “Aqua Buddha.” The term has returned in this year’s election cycle, with the Republicans bringing it back. Republican attorney general candidate Todd P’Pool, who is running against Conway in this year’s general election, started airing a statewide ad Tuesday reminding voters that Conway attacked Paul with “Aqua Buddha.”
Gov. Steve Beshear told supporters in Newport Wednesday he not only wants to win re-election, he wants to win by a landslide. “We’re going to win this race, but I don’t want to just win this race, I want to beat the socks of this guy,” Beshear said. “We need to beat him bad, because we need to send a strong message out here, and that message is this: ‘We don’t want the kind of dysfunctional politics going on in Washington D.C. right now.” Polls show Beshear ahead of GOP candidate and state Senate President David Williams by as much as 31 points.
If a proposed confidentiality ordinance passes in Fort Mitchell, council members with loose lips could serve time if they let secrets slip. Ordinance 2011-16, which received a first reading at Monday night’s meeting, details penalties that could be imposed if confidential information is discussed outside of executive sessions.
Responding to a new contract agreement between Ford Motor Company and Louisville’s local United Auto Workers, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., praised the automobile company and its employees for coming together.
A political group whose TV commercials were banned when a Franklin circuit judge issued a restraining order has now asked the Kentucky Court of Appeals to hear the case. The group, Restoring America, was airing TV spots critical of Gov. Steve Beshear and urging people to vote for his GOP opponent, state Sen. David Williams. But Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled Restoring America was violating Kentucky campaign finance law by not revealing the names of its monetary contributors.
Frankfort - Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate on Monday issued a restraining order to stop a group from airing TV commercials against Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. Wingate ruled the Restoring America group was not disclosing its donors -- a violation of Kentucky campaign law.
The first debate between the candidates for Kentucky attorney general repeated many themes of the campaign. Democratic incumbent Jack Conway and Republican challenger Todd P’Pool squared off on KET last night. Conway continued touting his accomplishments as the state’s chief prosecutor fighting cyber crime, child pornography and prescription drug abuse. P’Pool, meanwhile, continued his efforts to nationalize the race and said Conway should join other state attorneys general in a lawsuit against President Obama’s healthcare overhaul law.
Kentucky Congressmen Hal Rogers and Ed Whitefield endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Monday, giving the former Massachusetts governor two more GOP lawmakers in his bid for the Republican nomination. Whitfield represents the 1s District while Rogers represents the 6th District and chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Their nods of approval give Romney 31 endorsements from GOP elected members of Congress, which is a sign that he remains the establishment candidate.
All three candidates for governor of Kentucky have failed to turn in a survey put out by the non-partisan group Project Vote Smart. The Political Courage Test quizzes candidates on a variety of issues, including abortion, education and taxes. To encourage participation, candidates are not allowed to use the results of the survey in campaign ads.
Offering an alternative to President Obama and his American Jobs Act, a trio of Senate Republicans have drafted a “Real American Jobs Act” they will present on Thursday. The legislation is being spearheaded by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has joined Sen. Rob Portman, R-Oh., and Sen. John McCain, R-Az., to propose less labor and environment regulation, lower taxes, expand free trade and enact a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
With President Obama's $447 billion dollar jobs bill failing to clear a supermajority hurdle yesterday, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell says the country avoided another catastrophic stimulus bill. But a handful of McConnell's constituents decided to take their dissatisfaction to his Lexington office.
For the first time in this year’s race for Kentucky governor, the three candidates appeared together in a debate. The hour long political event at Eastern Kentucky University featured, as predicted, produced accusations, assertions, and rebuttals. Within the brand-spanking-new, E-K-U Center for the Arts, Governor Steve Beshear, Republican David Williams, and Independent Gatewood Galbraith each stood at a podium beneath three oversized American flags.
During an appearance with Kentucky Public Radio Tuesday, Republican attorney general candidate Todd P’Pool said he believes Democratic incumbent Jack Conway has a conflict of interest regarding the pending hospital merger. Conway has asked for more information about the proposed merger of University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives.
State Rep. W. Keith Hall was fined and reprimanded by a legislative ethics panel Tuesday after he admitted the panel had evidence sufficient to convict him of violating state ethics laws. The ethics probe centered around work a company owned by Hall did on a sewer line extension project in 2005. Hall voted to approve the state budget which contained coal severance tax funding earmarked for water and sewer projects. A portion of that money found its way to Hall’s company via its work installing electrical boxes as part of the sewer extension.
Urban County Council members sparred over the creation of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund Tuesday. The issue could come to a public referendum. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund, as envisioned by the committee tasked with exploring it, would need around four million dollars of dedicated funding every year. The committee determined the best way to pay for the fund would be a 1-percent raise in the insurance premium tax, or an increase of about $30 dollars a year for the average household. Councilman Chris Ford said the need for more affordable housing is very real.
A plan to re-draw Lexington's Urban County Council Districts is on a path to formal passage, which would put 33,000 residents in a new district. The proposal will get a first reading at the council's meeting on Thursday and a second reading on October 27. If approved, 32 Fayette County precincts would switch to new council districts. The new boundaries are necessary because of population growth and shifts over the past ten years.
Rumors of a "wet" petition circulating in Barbourville are now more than rumors. According to a local attorney, a petition calling for a local option vote in Knox County is now being circulated in the community."I represent several business people in Knox County. They feel it is time to get the sale of alcohol out of the alleys and hollows," said Barbourville attorney Randy Jewell. "They feel it will further business interests. But their primary concern is the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages to minors and, with bootleggers, typically there is more being sold than alcohol."
The Kentucky secretary of state is predicting low turnout for the general election, but state officials are still encouraging residents to register to vote before the deadline expires Tuesday. During the May primary, voter turnout was an abysmal 10 percent and many expect a similar result due to the wide margin in the governor’s race. Secretary of State Elaine Walker says the initial data shows turnout will once again be low for the fall election.
People who want to participate in the upcoming Kentucky election this November have until the end of business Tuesday to register to vote. According to Kentucky Revised Statute 116.045(2), the final day to register for the Nov. 8 election is Tuesday, pushed ahead by one day because of the federal holiday Columbus Day.
Speaker of the House John Boehner will visit Kentucky at the end of the month. Boehner will speak at the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center on the 31st. The Ohio Congressman has been a central figure in American politics over the last three years as one of the most powerful and influential Republicans in Washington. He was a key player in the recent debt ceiling negotiations, and has been a leader in the GOP opposition to President Obama.
A prominent Tea Party leader who called on the Republican Party of Kentucky to ditch gubernatorial nominee David Williams says the recommendation wasn’t personal, but Williams’s inner circle is spotlighting some disparaging comments he made about the GOP nominee.
A North Carolina law professor has filed an ethics complaint against the Washington, D.C. law firm that insinuated inbreeding was responsible for birth defects in Appalachia. The law firm made the comments while trying to refute a study connecting mountaintop removal to birth defect rates. Law firm Crowell and Moring raised several issues with the study’s methodology, including that the authors failed to account for consanguinity—or inbreeding—which can also cause birth defects.
In the race for attorney general of Kentucky, Democratic incumbent Jack Conway released his first television ads Wednesday, highlighting cyber crime and fiscal responsibility. The first 30-second spot entitled “Predators” features Conway speaking directly to voters about the cyber crimes unit in his office. It says the attorney general’s office has worked to take over 300,000 pornographic images of children off the Internet and launched nearly 200 new investigations.
California’s U.S. senators are calling on Kentucky’s Rand Paul to stop holding up a pipeline safety bill. The Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act was introduced in February, several months after a gas pipeline burst in San Bruno, California and killed eight people. Paul has placed a procedural hold on the bill, which means it can’t be fast-tracked and needs 60 votes to overcome the hurdle. In an interview last week, Paul said he didn’t think new regulations should be created without an adequate amount of debate.