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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

McConnell Met With Romney

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Washington on Wednesday, but sources are keeping the discussion quiet.

From National Journal:

A Senate Republican leadership aide confirmed the meeting, the first announced meeting this year between the two leading Republicans, but declined to comment further. Romney’s camp also declined to comment beyond confirming the meeting.

Romney met in March with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who is often at odds with McConnell, and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Publicly, Romney has mostly steered clear of top Hill Republicans including McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, but GOP aides say GOP congressional leaders have coordinated with Romney’s campaign behind the scenes for months, and the public cooperation between the former Massachusetts governor and Hill Republicans has increased since Romney’s rivals for the GOP nomination exited the contest.

McConnell endorsed Romney in mid-April.

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Council Members Defend, React to Parker’s Surprise Victory

Louisville Metro Council members are having mixed reactions to Tea Party candidate Marilyn Parker defeating Republican incumbent Jon Ackerson in the District 18 primary race.

Earlier this year, a majority of GOP council members backed Parker over Ackerson after claiming the one-term city lawmaker too often sided with Democrats in key debates. On the council, Ackerson was considered a bipartisan member willing to work with both parties and was favored to win the contests.

But Parker worked the neighborhoods diligently and was able to oust Ackerson from office by a razor-thin margin of 37 votes in the east Louisville district.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, says she doesn’t want to dismiss Parker and wants to welcome more women to the council, but that Parker’s controversial remarks over the years and Tea Party affiliation raise questions.

“Her cohorts around this town and around the country haven’t in my opinion shown their willingness to work across the aisle and not work in absolutism, in my way or no way,” she says. “So unfortunately she probably has that baggage coming in with her.”

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Wine Wins Commonwealth’s Attorney Race

Former Judge Thomas Wine has won the four-way Democratic primary to be Jefferson County’s newest Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Wine beat out Carol Cobb, Steve Ryan and Tom Van De Rostyne by more than 2,000 votes. Because no Republican is vying for the seat, Wine is expected to be the first new attorney in the top prosecutor’s office in 15 years.

Wine says his experience as a circuit court judge and appeals court judge played a role in his victory. Current Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel is retiring.

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Meeks Beats Tea Party Candidate in State House Primary

State Representative Reginald Meeks thumped Tea Party challenger Wendy Caswell in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Meeks carried 80 percent of the vote in the race for the state House’s 42nd District seat, which covers parts of Old Louisville, downtown and the West End. Caswell is the founder and former president of the Louisville Tea Party, who said she has always been a registered Democrat.

Meeks said Caswell was a fraud and he pressured party leaders to file suit against her candidacy, though they never did.

No Republican is vying for the seat.

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Shanklin Overcomes Scandal to Win Primary

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin has won a chance for re-election despite a scandal involving her legislative aide being arrested and jailed dozens of times.

A week before the election it was reported that Shanklin’s grandson, 28-year-old Gary Bohler, remained employed as her assistant despite multiple arrests for drug trafficking, robbery and domestic violence. It was also revealed that Bohler was paid while in jail at one point, and was still being compensated as a fugitive with active warrants.

Shanklin initially suspended Bohler without pay, but later fired her grandson.

In Tuesday’s Democratic primary, challengers Rose Robinson and Yvonne Woods split opposition to Shanklin, who won with only 48 percent of the vote.

No Republican is vying for the seat.

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Scott Easily Wins District 1 Primary

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Woodson Scott will likely retain her District 1 seat after winning a five-way Democratic primary battle.

The council appointed Scott to the position last year to replace former Councilwoman Judy Green, who was booted from office for ethics violations. Scott beat out her four challengers with 49 percent of the vote.

Scott says focusing on environmental justice and vacant properties resonated with voters, but that public safety is a key priority in the area. A rash of shootings in west Louisville last week brought new scrutiny to crime issues in the district.

The closest challenger to Scott was former police officer Ray Barker, who garnered 24 percent of the vote and won two precincts. Barker had run for the seat twice before and had also applied for the position in 2006 and 2010. He brought the initial ethics complaint against Green that resulted in her removal.

The election is for the remainder of Green’s term until 2014. No Republican is vying for the seat.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Tea Party Candidate Defeats Incumbent Jon Ackerson In Metro Council Upset

Tea Party challenger Marilyn Parker defeated incumbent Metro Councilman Jon Ackerson in a tight Republican primary in the 18th Council District.

The contest caught observers’ attention after most GOP council members endorsed Parker over Ackerson, claiming the incumbent sided with Democrats in key debates. Ackerson led most of the night Tuesday, but final counts showed Parker beating the incumbent by 37 votes.

Parker will face Democrat Teague Ridge in the fall campaign, but the district is heavily Republican, making Parker the early favorite in the general election.

Parker says she wants to see major cuts to council discretionary spending and tighter ethics rules.

“One of the first things that I would like to address is the slush funds since we have a $20 million budget shortfall right now. I would like to address the slush funds, the discretionary spending that each council member has at their disposal,” she says.

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Politico: Kentucky Fourth District Race Test for Paul

The Republican primary battle for Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District seat isn’t a national news story by any means, but observers are using the race barometer of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s power in the state.

From Politico:

In this comfortably Republican seat the primary to watch is on the GOP side, where tea party forces are confronting the establishment. Amid the crowded field of candidates, Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee are backing Thomas Massie while Davis and former Sen. Jim Bunning, who once held this House seat, are supporting Alecia Webb-Edgington.

Massie and Webb-Edgington aren’t the only candidates of note in this northern Kentucky seat – it’s a 7-candidate field — but they’ve won the most attention because of their high-profile supporters.

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Yarmuth Applauds Conway for Joining Brief Against Citizens United Decision

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is commending Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway for backing the state of Montana in a case that revisits the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling.

Two years ago, justices in a 5-to-4 majority rejected spending limits for corporations and labor unions within federal election law. However, the Montana Supreme Court made the opposite ruling earlier this year and upheld a century-old state law banning corporate campaign spending.

Attorneys are asking the justices to decide whether Citizens United case also applies to state and local elections.

“I applaud Attorney General Conway and his office for their efforts to limit the reach of the disastrous Citizens United decision and keep unlimited anonymous money from continuing to corrupt our political system,” Yarmuth said in a news release. “Special-interest groups that aren’t accountable to voters have already spent millions of dollars on federal elections this year, jamming the airwaves with attack ads. Without a change to the law, we can only expect more spending, more negativity, and less accountability.”

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McConnell Camp Sets Forceful Tone in First Web Ad

The campaign to re-elect Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has released a strong web ad praising the Republican lawmaker for standing up against President Obama for the past four years.

The 3 minute video is entitled “Refuse to be Defeated”, and documents McConnell’s opposition to the president’s agenda in a positive light. It begins with Mr. Obama’s acceptance speech and finds several clips praising McConnell for blocking key legislation in the Senate.

Check it out: