Political news


Nancy Jo Kemper has weighed in political issues much of her adult life.  But, her civic activities took a different turn last January when she filed as a Democratic candidate in the Sixth congressional district.  The pastor of nearly 50 years, who’s spoken out on issues like health care and tax reform, abolition of the death penalty, environmental stewardship, and gambling expansion is seeking to unseat Republican Andy Barr. 

Kemper returned to Frankfort last Thursday for the annual Democrats “get out the vote” picnic.

Lexington Herald-Leader/Kentucky.com

Candidates for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional district squared off in their only joint appearance ahead of this year’s election.

The televised debate showed sharp differences over banking regulations, foreign policy and the Affordable Care Act.   

Kentucky Constables Association

Lexington officials are considering changes to policies regarding county constables.  The duties of these elected officials were discussed during this week’s Planning and Public Safety Committee meeting. 

The city review follows a summer report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting raising issues about training and accountability.  Council member Kevin Stinnett views city liability related to constables and their deputies as a key issue. 


A person who’s spent decades keeping his finger on the pulse of Kentucky politics doesn’t anticipate weekend revelations about Donald Trump to greatly erode his support in the Commonwealth.  The effect on GOP efforts to take over the Kentucky House appear a little more uncertain.

Greater numbers of citizens than usual are anticipated to take interest in this fall’s U.S. presidential debates.  A Central Kentucky political scientist isn’t sure how much the face-offs will affect voter decisions.

Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald Leader

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Democrat Jim Gray used Labor Day to unveil his jobs plan as he tries to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

Media outlets report Gray released his economic agenda Monday at the United Auto Workers union hall in Louisville.

Gray says he wants to invest in infrastructure, broadband internet and education to bring more jobs and attract businesses to Kentucky. That includes repairing and rebuilding roads and bridges.



Retiring US. Rep. Ed Whitfield says he will resign early from office next week, triggering a special election for Kentucky's 1st Congressional District. 

Whitfield sent a letter Monday notifying Gov. Matt Bevin of the move.

Whitfield's communications director Robert Hankins said his resignation will be effective at 6 p.m. September 6. Asked for further comment on the reasons behind the resignation, Hankins offered no comment.

Rep. Barr Seeking Fix for Flood Insurance Program

Aug 19, 2016

As thousands in Louisiana cope with historic flooding, Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr says the federal government’s approach to assistance needs attention. 

Citizens in a portion of eastern Kentucky experienced loss of life and significant damage from flash flooding last summer.  Barr believes more effort needs to focus on how federal funds are distributed, “We need to make sure that we target the relief to those individuals who are truly the victims of these natural disasters.”

New Kentucky Political Group Launched

Aug 17, 2016
Stu Johnson-WEKU Radio

A former Kentucky state auditor and a sports radio talk show host are launching a new statewide political entity.  It’s called the New Kentucky Project.   Adam Edelen and Matt Jones held a news conference Tuesday.

John Hingsbergen

Kentucky’s Secretary of State is encouraging eligible voters to register and participate in this year’s general election.  Secretary Alison Lundergran Grimes spoke Thursday at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. 

In addition to the very visible presidential election, every seat of the state’s House of Representatives, half of the Senate and some state Supreme Court races will be on the ballot November 8th.

GOP Dominates Fancy Farm 2016

Aug 6, 2016

Democrats were heavily outnumbered onstage this year at Fancy Farm, which used to be dominated by the party. Republicans also made up most of the audience, taking a victory lap after a big year politically. 

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear declined his invitation to Fancy Farm this year. Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear wasn’t in attendance either.

During his speech, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin pounced on the opportunity. “Do we really miss papa bear and baby bear up here, spewing their anger?”

Fancy Farm Emcees Try To Keep Peace - Fan the Flames

Aug 5, 2016


In videos of Fancy Farm, the annual political throwdown in southwestern Kentucky, you’ll usually see little white ceiling fans spinning furiously above the speakers, who are all shouting and sweating profusely with their sleeves rolled up.

It’s one of the few events in U.S. politics where speakers address an audience made up of both supporters and opponents.

Unlike a debate, Fancy Farm attendees are allowed to heckle or cheer those on the stage — a practice that organizers, politicians and beyond have tried to limit, to little effect.

Filing Deadline for Independents Approaching

Aug 4, 2016


The Secretary of State’s is reminding potential candidates that next week is the deadline for Third Party Candidates to submit paperwork. The aim is to file in a timely manner.

August Ninth is the final day for independents to file. The deadline doesn’t apply to candidates for President of the United States, or the Vice President.

The Law requires independent candidates to file a statement of candidacy form, no later than April first.  


One of the first political speakers for this Saturday’s Fancy Farm Picnic is sure to be U.S. Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  The sixth term senator from Louisville last weekend indicated he’s already looking forward to a seventh term in Congress. 

Sen. Paul Claims His GOP Vision Differs from Trump

Jul 27, 2016
Stu Johnson -WEKU News

Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul admits his philosophy on expanding the Republican Party differs from its presidential nominee Donald Trump.  Paul held a town hall meeting Wednesday afternoon in downtown Lexington. 

Afterwards, he said there are different approaches to growing the Republican Party.  Paul says he wants a bigger more inclusive Party, “I’m not saying he doesn’t, but I have a different way of approaching it, of trying to welcome people into the party."  "And, I’ll continue to be that distinct voice,” added the senator.

Gray Proposes Four Point Plan to Aid Coal Counties

Jul 26, 2016

    Kentucky U.S. Democratic Senatorial Candidate Jim Gray is offering suggestions on ways to deal with coal job losses in eastern Kentucky.  Gray outlined his proposal during a stop in Pikeville Tuesday.


GOP Convention Not Likely to Change Many Voters’ Minds

Jul 21, 2016

The Republican convention this week is being taken in by many Kentuckians, but a University of Kentucky political scientist doesn’t expect a major long term shift in presidential support.  Stephen Voss says political conventions tend to be ‘glorified advertisements’ for their parties.  “At least the ones who are discussing it, the ones who are doing more than just having it on in the background, still, judging from what I’m seeing, tends to be either the people who are republican or already hate Trump and know it and looking to see a train wreck.”

SLC Featured a Familiar Face from Years Past in Frankfort

Jul 14, 2016

After serving in Kentucky’s general assembly for almost three decades, David Williams was back among a large contingent of state lawmakers this week in Lexington.  The former Senate President is now a circuit judge in southern Kentucky.  Williams attended this week’s Southern Legislative Conference.  In his private law practice, Williams says he was filtered from a great many defendants.  “And now I see all these people with various challenges, drug addiction, conflict in their lives.  And, it really gives me an opportunity, at my age to have a little sympathy and empathy for what they are

Donald Trump’s Lexington Fundraiser Brings Out Opposition

Jul 12, 2016


    A fund raising event for presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump in Lexington has prompted a reaction from a diverse group of citizens. it included remarks from a black pastor, a Muslim doctor, and a Latino businessman.

Stu Johnson

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is urging lawmakers from 15 southern states including his own to be competent, capable, and bold.  Bevin offered his thoughts to participants at the 70th Southern Legislative Conference meeting in Lexington.  “We have increasingly in this country become agnostic as it relates to any number of things, our mores, our values, our principles, our convictions, our love of liberty.  We’ve become fairly apathetic,” noted Bevin.

Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky's attorney general and state auditor will no longer be able to nominate members of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. That’s under a new executive order from Republican Gov.  Matt Bevin.



The governor appoints the members of the commission, which investigates allegations of state ethics code violations in the state's executive branch.  

Gray Calls for Action on Assault Weapon Legislation

Jun 15, 2016

U. S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says Congress should be doing more to prevent terrorist-related gun violence.  The Democratic challenger held a news briefing outside Senator Rand Paul’s Lexington office Wednesday. 

Gray told reporters he thinks people are distressed over continuing to see the headlines like they saw and heard on Sunday morning.  “We need to be doing something,” said Gray.

Could Trump Cost McConnell His Senate Majority?

Jun 1, 2016
US Senate

In his attempt to maintain control of the U.S. Senate and send a Republican to the White House this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is walking an awkward line when talking about presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has more.

In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, McConnell was asked if Trump would drag down Republican candidates for Senate during the November general election.

Update: Bernie Sanders’ campaign says it accepts the results of the recanvass and will not contest Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary.

The outcome of last Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary in Kentucky is unchanged after a recanvass of votes in the state.    

The recanvass was requested by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost the race by fewer than 2,000 votes to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In a statement, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said the review ensures the result was right all along.

Sanders Requests Ky. Primary Re-Canvass

May 24, 2016

Senator Bernie Sanders has requested a re-canvass of votes cast in Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary, narrowly won by Hillary Clinton.    

Capitol reporter Ryland Barton says recent re-canvasses haven’t changed the outcome of elections in Kentucky. 

The re-canvass is essentially a re-tabulation of results from each precinct. It’ll be conducted on Thursday by the Secretary of State’s office.

Mayor’s Fall U.S. Senate Bid Not Likely to Impact City Hall

May 23, 2016

    Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s Primary win in the U.S. Senate race will likely mean a heavy dose of speaking engagements across the Commonwealth the next five months.  Lexington’s vice mayor doesn’t expect that to impact his work at city hall substantially.


Lexington Mayor Jim Gray Wins U.S. Senate Primary

May 18, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is hoping to move from City Hall to Capitol Hill.  The Glasgow native took the first step in the race for U.S. Senate Tuesday with a Primary win over six competitors.

Barr/Kemper Race Set for House Seat

May 18, 2016

    A Central Kentucky pastor is set to take on a two-term incumbent in the Sixth District Congressional race.  The contest pits a first-time candidate against a relatively young congressman with years of political involvement.

Nancy Jo Kemper bested retired state energy engineer Geoff Young.  She believes it’s important to send people to Congress who are not, as she puts it, "beholden to corporations or other institutions."  

The former director of the Kentucky Council of Churches says current Congressman Andy Barr fits in with professional politicians.  

Atypical May Weather Doesn’t Dissuade These Lexington Voters

May 17, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Rainy and cool conditions greeted many Kentucky voters today as they cast their ballots. 

In south Lexington, Claire Hundley said it’s important to make her voice heard.  And yet, she labeled this primary a "scary election."  “None of the candidates we’re voting for right now is liked by people.  Nobody seems to trust any of the candidates and yet, that’s what we are faced with.”

Debbie Morris, a native of Germany, and her husband Gary cast their ballots.  Gary says voter participation in Germany seems higher with more political parties.


Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins says projecting voter turnout in the Lexington area for the Primary Election is a difficult task.  He joins other experts in the field in projecting a light voter response as Democrats pick their presidential candidate and Republicans and Democrats both choose their U.S. Senate nominees.