Monday, September 29, 2014

McConnell flips, says he would allow wage vote; his friends spend heavily on TV; Patterson sues KET

As we hit the five-weeks-to-election mark, Republicans raise the ante . . .
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell released a one-minute television commercial today with a moving narration from Dr. Noelle Hunter of Morehead, whose daughter was abducted and taken to Africa by Hunter's ex-husband. Hunter says McConnell helped get her daughter back and took a personal interest in the case. The ad seems to appeal to women, whose votes have been more up for grabs than those of men. "The commercial seeks to both humanize McConnell and to show that he is effective — two central goals in the home stretch for an incumbent whose personal favorability ratings lag behind the state’s partisan lean," James Hohmann writes for Politico.
  • Two political committees closely tied to McConnell "are poised to spend nearly $20 million on television advertisements to sway Kentucky voters," The Associated Press reports. "That's a staggering amount for a single race and a textbook example of the use of outside money in a tight contest. The effort began more than a year ago. But the majority of the advertising by the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition and Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has aired since McConnell and Democratic rival Alison Lundergan Grimes won primaries in mid-May. . . . A spokeswoman for Grimes says McConnell's millionaire and billionaire cronies have targeted the race more than any other, but predicts they will fail."
  • Ronnie Ellis of CNHI News Service reports that McConnell said Friday that if he becomes majority leader "He will impose order on the way the Senate functions, reinvigorating the committee system and allowing members to file amendments and cast votes on bills," including an increase in the minimum wage. "Those comments might be viewed as contrary to others McConnell has made," including a meeting of conservative campaign contributors, where he said “We’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage.” Ellis writes, "McConnell bristled when asked if those comments conflicted with his assurance that he’d restore order to the Senate." He cited a January speech in which he said senators' constituents should “know where we stand on the issues of the day, regardless of whether the majority party thinks those issues are worth debating or voting on.” Asked if that meant he’d allow votes on such things as the minimum wage, he replied “Yes.” That is "the exact opposite of what McConnell told the Koch brothers and their allies," MSNBC's Steve Benen writes.
  • Today Alison Lundergan Grimes's campaign launched #AlisonCares, "a campaign initiative that will continue the campaign’s overwhelming online engagement with grassroots supporters," the campaign said. The candidate's husband, Andrew Grimes, does the first video. "Grimes' social media effort is an effort to reach out to non-traditional voters who don't get news and information from television and to let them know what she will do in the Senate if successful in ousting McConnell," writes Joe Gerth of The Courier-Journal. "It's pushing the ads to voters using Facebook and Twitter."
  • Libertarian candidate David Patterson "has asked a federal judge to order Kentucky Educational Television to include him in the station's televised debate on Oct. 13," AP reports. "His lawsuit alleges KET officials are excluding him from the debate because of his political views—something the U.S. Supreme Court has said public broadcasters cannot do." AP tightened its qualification requirements in July, before Patterson gained enough signatures to get on the ballot but after his effort was publicized.

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