Thursday, May 15, 2014

Senate race roundup for Thursday, May 15

Stories of which to take note today in the Senate race include:
  • Lexington-Herald Leader reporter Sam Youngman says Alison Lundergan Grimes remains a blank slate as many in polls don't know how to rate her. Grimes has kept her head down strategically, planning when to discuss issues and using the primary election to introduce herself and raise money; University of Kentucky political science professor Steven Voss says she has missed an opportunity to define herself before Mitch McConnell can do so. 
  • Herald-Leader reporter Janet Patton notes McConnell's call for the Drug Enforcement Administration to release 250 pounds of imported hemp seeds immediately so projects can get under way, under a Farm Bill provision McConnell pushed through. He said, "It is an outrage that DEA is using finite taxpayers' dollars to impound legal industrial-hemp seeds."
  • Mother Jones reporter David Corn interviews McConnell's first boss, former senator Marlow Cook.  Cook, who lives in Florida, is a Republican who first hired McConnell upon graduation to work on his successful 1968 campaign. Cook says he is amazed by McConnell's move from the center to the right, and disapproves of him trying to get rid of Obamacare: "If he had any knowledge of the lack of health and medical facilities in the hills of Kentucky, he'd know it's a problem we need to solve."
  • Nationally, McConnell has the lowest net rating, minus 17 percent, of any congressional leader tested in the latest Gallup Poll, just ahead of (or behind) House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, at minus 16. The Hill reports, "23 percent of people have a favorable view of the Senate Republican leader, compared to 40 percent who have an unfavorable view. Another 37 percent have no opinion of him." As for Pelosi, "While her favorable rating (33 percent) is 10 points higher than McConnell's, her unfavorable rating is also 9 points higher (49 percent). Only 18 percent have no opinion of her." House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) each have a net rating of minus 14.

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