Saturday, October 25, 2014

McConnell won't reveal plan for Social Security, loans campaign $1.8 million; absentee votes up over 2010

Another rolling roundup as we go through the weekend . . .
  • Insider Louisville's Joe Sonka reports on Sen. Mitch McConnell's Thursday speech to the Louisville Rotary Club: "Though he hasn’t mentioned it much on the campaign trail over the past year, McConnell specifically touted his effort to push President George W. Bush’s plans to reform Social Security in 2005, which would have set up private accounts for retirees. . . . Insider Louisville asked McConnell after the event if he would make a push for such reforms to Social Security if he was elected Senate majority leader and could set the agenda, but he declined to reveal if he would do so. 'I’m not announcing what the agenda would be in advance,' said McConnell. 'We’re not in the majority yet. We’ll have more to say about that later,' assumedly meaning at some point after the election in 12 days. Both McConnell and his opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes have accused each other of hiding the true agenda they would advocate for if elected. McConnell claims Grimes is hiding her support of President Obama’s policies in order to fool voters . . . At a Louisville retirement community earlier this week, Grimes and Congressman John Yarmuth told the seniors gathered that McConnell would push not only to privatize Medicare for future retirees, but start another push for Social Security privatization."
  • The Lexington Herald-Leader has two good stories on the race today: from Sam Youngman on McConnell, the Tea Party and 4th District Rep. Thomas Massie; and from Sean Cockerham on how McConnell might handle the job of Senate majority leader.
  • Renee Shaw of KET did a report for PBS NewsHour on the influence of Obamacare on the race, with strongly contrasting views from both sides.
  • "In the most competitive U.S. Senate races this year, big-money special interests that proliferated after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision are routinely out-muscling and out-messaging the candidates themselves," Michael Beckel of The Center for Public Integrity reports Here are its charts, with the Kentucky race numbers:
  • McConnell is loaning his campaign $1.8 million. A campaign spokesman told Manu Raju of Politico that he is doing so in order to keep his promise to not draw assistance from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, after its Democratic counterpart and Democratic Leader Harry Reid's Senate Majority PAC resumed television advertising in the race.
  • "More people are voting absentee in Kentucky's Nov. 4 general election, a sign the state's closely watched Senate race could be boosting turnout," The Associated Press reports. "The State Board of Elections said 11,089 people have already cast absentee ballots in person at their local county clerk's office as of Monday morning. That's about 2,000 more votes than were cast at this time in 2010, the last time Kentucky had a U.S. Senate race on the ballot. . . .
    Another 7,714 voters have cast absentee ballots by mail, bringing the total to more than 18,100 votes cast so far."
  • "The Fix" column of The Washington Post recently called the race the nation's most interesting, but that didn't get it off the bottom of its list of 13 seats that could change parties.
  • The Faith and Freedom Coalition, the religious-conservative successor to the Christian Coalition, has mailed its voter guide for the race:

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