Monday, August 4, 2014

Evangelical leaders tout 3 Senate forums, say McConnell has accepted their invitation

Catching our breath between Fancy Farm and campaign stops by a former president:
  • "Three Kentucky evangelical leaders are inviting the state's U.S. Senate candidates — Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes — to participate in three forums 'to explore matters of concern to evangelical Christians'," Jack Brammer reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. "A news release Monday about the forums said McConnell had accepted the invitation and Grimes was reviewing it."
  • Bill Clinton will not only appear for Alison Lundergan Grimes in Lexington and Hazard on Wednesday, he will appear in television commercials for her, "Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst told The Huffington Post. And the campaign expects the former president to be back in person in the fall, perhaps more than once," Howard Fineman writes. "As far as Democrats in Kentucky are concerned, Bill Clinton is still president, and Hillary Clinton soon will follow him in the office. Two words Democrats rarely utter voluntarily here, especially in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky: 'Barack Obama.' Grimes won't win the coalfield counties of Eastern Kentucky, but she also can't afford to be blown out there -- and coal is key."
  • "She's got to replace the coal vote" that she will lose because of Obama's anti-coal policies, by turning out big majorities in the state's urban areas, NBC's Chuck Todd told KET's Bill Goodman on July 21, in an interview segment broadcast on the state network's Fancy Farm roundup. "She's got a tough path to 50 percent plus one." But Todd added, "Take Obama out of the equation and it's a much more bipartisan state than people who just discovered American politics in 2007 think."
  • Jonathan Martin, chief political writer for The New York Times, told Goodman at Fancy Farm that McConnell is "in what could be the race of his life" and the race could turn on ads, debates and candidate statements in the last two weeks of October. Martin brought his wife, NBC News producer Betsy Fischer Martin, to the picnic as they wrapped up a vacation. He called the picnic "perhaps the signature political event in the calendar in all of America."
  • Louisville native Perry Bacon Jr., a senior political correspondent for NBC, told KET's Renee Shaw, "McConnell's the favorite, but she's definitely made it where she's in striking distance of winning. . . . It's very unusual to have a Senate candidate brag about not meeting the leader of the free world," as Grimes aides often do. . . . McConnell's big challenge is, people in Kentucky are not very excited about sending him back."
  • Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Trey Grayson, who lost the 2010 Senate Republican primary when he was secretary of state, then headed the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, told KET, "the anti-Washington environment makes all incumbents vulnerable," and Grimes "is someone who's viewed as having a lot of potential, a lot of political talent, but she's young. ... This is a big step up."
  • UPDATE, Aug. 4: Don Gonyea of NPR did a story on the Fancy Farm Picnic. Listen to it here.

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