Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20 roundup: Candidates offer ways to rebuild a major bridge, but neither idea is likely to become law

The biggest issue in Northern Kentucky took center stage in the race today:
Kentucky Enquirer photo by Patrick Reddy
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes "dueled over the Brent Spence Bridge," an aging, outdated span that carries Interstates 75 and 71 across the Ohio River from Covington to Cincinnati, Scott Wartman of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Grimes has rejected the idea of tolls to finance a new bridge; just before a McConnell press conference on the issue today, she proposed getting the money "by closing tax loopholes that benefit millionaires and billionaires" and other tax breaks. McConnell proposed to get funding by repealing the law that requires union-influenced wages to be paid on federal projects. Neither idea can become law, panelists on KET's "Comment on Kentucky" said tonight. The Grimes campaign called McConnell's plan "a gimmick," said he had done nothing about the bridge during his nearly 30 years in the Senate, and noted that he said earlier this year the project was up to Kentucky and Ohio. For a more detailed report and video from Jacqueline Pitts of cn|2, click here.
  • The American Federation of Government Employees endorsed Grimes. Last week, two locals of the union, in heavily Republican southeastern Kentucky, endorsed McConnell.
  • Grimes "strains to distance herself from Washington, President Obama and all the insidery politics condemned by folks outside the Beltway," write Al Kamen and Colby Itkowitz of The Washington Post, but defeating McConnell "requires a lot of money, so a candidate can’t afford to be too choosy about whose checks she cashes — even if they’re bound to raise a few eyebrows back home," so next week Grimes is set to attend a cocktail-party fundraiser in Manhattan hosted by producer Harvey Weinstein and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who "have donated heavily to PACs working to unseat McConnell, and have given the max contributions to Grimes . . . the 2014 'it' girl. Although the Democrats’ hold on the Senate is tenuous, ousting the would-be majority leader would be quite the coup for the party."
  • The race ranks No. 7 among the 12 that The Washington Post says will decide control of the Senate: "Republicans are feeling more confident about McConnell's chances following the Republican leader's convincing primary victory last month and their sense that the GOP is quickly uniting behind him. And, President Obama didn't do Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes any favors with his announcement on power plants earlier this month. But, as we have written in this space, McConnell's numbers suggest his vote ceiling is very low. And, in a cycle where they have very few opportunities, Democrats will pour everything they have into this one." The only other Republican-held seat among the 12 is the open seat in Georgia.

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