Thursday, October 30, 2014

Herald-Leader gives big play to nonprofit's story about 'dark money' group's big help for McConnell

Here's what we have time to post in a whirlwind of activity . . .
  • A nonprofit group that was taken over by a former aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell has aired one of every seven television commercials in the Senate race, most of them attacking Alison Lundergan Grimes, with millions of dollars from donors it will not disclose, the Center for Public Integrity reports, in a story that the Lexington Herald-Leader placed on its front page. UPDATE, Oct. 31: National Journal's Alex Roarty and Shane Goldmacher show how the rules against coordination between such groups and candidates is easily circumvented.
  • NPR reports that conservatives criticized McConnell for telling Neil Cavuto of Fox News that Republicans would not be able to repeal Obamacare because they will not have 60 votes in the Senate. "McConnell said that with a full Obamacare repeal impossible, he would instead push to repeal the law's tax on medical devices — which a number of Democratic senators already support — and to narrow its mandate on which workers must be covered."
  • McConnell primary foe Matt Bevin "came as close as he has to endorsing" McConnell at a quiet gathering of conservatives in Jeffersontown Wednesday night, the Herald-Leader's Sam Youngman reports. "Bevin tried to warm up the subdued audience," saying that any thinking about voting for Grimes should "think again." He added, "There is nothing being brought forward by the Democratic Party in this state that is good for Kentucky. Nothing." Still, Youngman writes, "He continued to be cagey about backing McConnell. . . . Asked after his speech whether that was an endorsement of McConnell, Bevin snapped, 'You've got ears.'"

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  • Former president Bill Clinton is appearing in Louisville and Ashland today for Grimes. The first stop, at the Muhammad Ali Center, may help Grimes with African American turnout, which some black observers have said might be hurt by her refusal to say that she voted for President Obama; the second one will get coverage from West Virginia TV stations that serve the northern part of the East Kentucky Coal Field.
  • The Economist sums up the race, largely by looking at McConnell as the leader of a potential Senate majority, "as seems likely." If so, "a man few Americans would recognise if he sat next to them on a bus, will be one of the most powerful people in the world," the magazine says in an editorial.
  • Grimes pollster Mark Mellman, asked about the race at Bipartisan Policy Center event today, said "We’re not ahead. But we hope to be on Election Day." U.S. News & World Report's David Catanese notes, "Grimes’ team has furiously fought back at the notion that McConnell has pulled far ahead of them in recent weeks, but has not released its own internal polling by Mellman as it did back in September, when he showed the race tied."

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