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Conway Campaign Slaps Back Against P’Pool, RPK Ad

Responding to an attack ad released by the Republican Party of Kentucky on Friday, the campaign to re-elect Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway is scolding Republican challenger Todd P’Pool for taking money from universities that are under investigation.

The GOP released the YouTube video to mark 100 days of criticizing Conway for helping his brother, Matt, obtain legal counsel while he was the focus of a narcotics investigation.

But Conway campaign manager Melissa Wideman stiff armed the GOP’s line of questioning and says the online advertisement is a desperate attempt to tie the attorney general to his brother, who maintains he did not interfere in the probe on his brother’s behalf.

“It is a shameful and dishonest attack by someone who is 26 points down in the polls,” she says.

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School Facing AG Probe Urges Support for Conway’s Opponent

A former admissions officer at the for-profit Spencerian College in Louisville  told the Lexington Herald-Leader Thursday that executives being investigated by Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway have urged employees to support his opponent in the fall election.

Campaign finance records show the chancellor of Sullivan University, which owns Spencerian, and his executives contributed $12,000 to Republican attorney general candidate Todd P’Pool’s campaign.

From the Herald-Leader:

Spencerian College, owned by the Sullivan University System, is one of the for-profit schools whose business practices Conway is investigating. Conway’s office confirmed Wednesday that it subpoenaed documents from Spencerian College in December as part of its ongoing investigation.

Conway has taken legal action against Daymar College and Brown Mackie College, alleging they defrauded students and manipulated government-tuition assistance programs, respectively.

In public remarks, Sullivan University Chancellor A.R. Sullivan has defended the for-profit college industry and criticized Conway’s investigation as “a re-election sham.”

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Noise & Notes Politics

Grimes, Johnson Spar Over Homeless Voters Issue at Fancy Farm

Speaking at this year’s Fancy Farm picnic, the candidates for secretary of state continued their debate about registering homeless people to vote in Kentucky.

Declaring that people without an address should not be allowed to vote, Republican nominee Bill Johnson said allowing them to register opens the door to possible voter fraud. Last month, he filed an ethics complaint over a 2-page memorandum sent to county clerks by the secretary of state’s office telling local officials to approve voter applications that have “homeless” or “place to place” listed as an address.

Johnson told the raucous crowed that if elected he will make the policy simple in order to avoid potential deception at the polls.

“Without an address you can’t determine residency, you can’t determine precinct. With Bill Johnson as secretary of state, the policy will be: no address, no vote,” he said.

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Johnson Files Ethics Complaint Over Homeless Voters

After denouncing the State Board of Elections for telling county clerks to approve voter registration cards that have “homeless” listed under the address, Republican Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson has filed an ethics complaint Thursday against the panel and Secretary of State Elaine Walker.

Last week, the Todd County businessman called on Walker to resign and has made the issue of homeless voters a centerpiece of his campaign against Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who supports the right of the homeless to list “place-to-place” under the address portion of the application.

Johnson says he is concerned about possible voter fraud and claims the board is violating the state constitution for instructing clerks to approve those registrations.

From the Herald-Leader:

“The homeless, like all Americans, have the right to vote,” Johnson said in his complaint. “However, to exercise that right to vote, all persons must register using the voter registration form and meet residency and precinct requirements.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Sec. of State Candidates Spar Over Homeless Voters

The candidates for Kentucky Secretary of State are sparring over the issue of registering homeless people to vote, which is becoming the first line of attack in the race for the commonwealth’s chief election officer.

Earlier this month, the state board of elections sent a 2-page memorandum to county clerks telling them to uphold up state law and approve registration cards that have “homeless” or “place to place” listed under their addresses. The memo said a clerk should not refuse to register a homeless person on the grounds they do not have a traditional residence, but some county officials raised concerns about potential election fraud.

Citing state law and the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN, Republican candidate Bill Johnson decried the memo and called on current Secretary of State Elaine Walker, who chairs the state board, to resign from office.

He declared “No Address, No Voter Registration” on his website last week and told WFPL in a telephone interview he plans to file a legal challenge against the state board along with an ethics complaint against Walker before the end of the week.

Johnson says he’s not opposed to homeless people voting and understands their plight, but they should have to list an address to avoid voter fraud.

“When you look at Kentucky statuette it says that to properly register to vote you must provide an address. Now that address needs to be some identifiable place which you live and it just can’t say place to place or in your car, for example,” he says. “And it’s important because without an address we can’t determine residency, which is one of the eligibility requirements.”

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Panel Says White Eligible To Hold Office; Criminal Trial Pending

Indiana’s Recount Commission says Republican Secretary of State Charlie White is eligible to hold office.

The two Republicans and one Democrat on the panel unanimously rejected a challenge by Democrats who argue White was illegally registered to vote because he used his ex-wife’s home address on the registration form. That’s where he was registered when he declared his candidacy.

White testified last week before the panel that he frequently stayed at the address but also spent a lot of time on the road campaigning and sometimes spent the night at a condo he and his future wife had purchased.

Recount Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler says White came close to crossing the into violating state election law. White said after the decision he was relieved but declined to respond to Wheeler’s comment.

State Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker says officials want to review the commission’s opinion before deciding whether to file an appeal in court.

White still faces felony criminal charges of voter fraud and perjury related to his voter registration. A conviction could result in his removal from office.

Some had questioned the impartiality of the three-person commission after it was reported that a political action committee set up by chairman Tom Wheeler’s law firm had contributed to White’s campaign. Wheeler is a Republican.

The firm also contributed a lesser amount to White’s Democratic opponent.

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Williams Calls Beshear a Failure

Days after winning the Republican nomination for governor of Kentucky, state Senate President David Williams has launched a new YouTube video that says Governor Steve Beshear has failed to deliver on major issues.

Entitled “No Results”, the attack ad is just over two minutes and outlines a number of issues where Williams says Beshear hasn’t led effectively, citing independent analysis of the commonwealth and several news stories since the governor took office.

“There’s really no way to argue that Steve Beshear has delivered on much of anything. He says we don’t need pension reform. He pension reform. He says we don’t need tax reform. He says he’s a good manager despite overwhelming independent analysis to the contrary … he stands in the way of and then flip flops on serious education reform,” says Scott Jennings, Williams’s campaign manager.

Check it out:

Williams is running with Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.

In a statement to supporters Thursday, the governor launched his campaign by defending his record and saying he led the state through the national recession.

“I’ve balanced the budget nine times in just three years, while cutting $1.3 billion in spending. I took unpaid furlough days, and I voluntarily cut my own salary and my own office’s budget. And I opposed—with firm resolve—efforts to raise broad-based taxes,” Beshear said. “I’ve worked aggressively to protect Kentucky jobs and create new ones. But I’m not going to be satisfied until every Kentuckian who wants a job has one. And I took office four years ago vowing to restore honesty, ethics, openness and integrity to the governor’s office. I’ve kept my word.”

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Beshear Ready for Tough Battle With Williams

It’ll be Democratic Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear against Republican Senate President David Williams in the fall.

Beshear had no primary opposition, but he roused a crowd of several hundred at a rally in Frankfort with a litany of his accomplishments in his first three and a half years in office.

Beshear told the crowd he avoided mass layoffs, took mandated furlough days himself, sold surplus assets, like airplanes, to raise revenue and created jobs.

“We balanced this budget nine times in three and a half years, while cutting $1.3 billion out of that budget.  That requires tough decisions and I have made them,” he said. “Economic experts around the country have come to the same conclusion,” he said. “Kentucky has weathered this recession better than most and is positioned to recover quicker the most. And we’ve done it the right way.”

Beshear also appeared to be trying out a new campaign slogan last night. He said he’s “Tested. Trusted. Tough.”

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Tea Party Celebrates Moffett’s Showing

Even though Tea Party-backed gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett lost the Republican primary, his supporters are celebrating.

Moffett was a political novice with little name recognition, and he lacked the fundraising power of the primary winner, state Senate President David Williams. But Moffett beat Williams in the state’s two most populous counties and finished about ten percent behind the favorite statewide. He credits the surprising performance to individual Tea Party groups across the state.

“The Republican Party knows that the Tea Party is an integral part of what’s going to happen in this state and what’s going to happen in this nation,” he told a cheering crowd. “And if they can’t figure that out, woe is them.”

It will be up to individual chapters to decide who to support Williams in the general election.

“[Williams’s] whole voting history would go into account,” says Louisville Tea Party president Wendy Caswell. “All 25 years of it or whatever it is. His ten years or more as Senate President will go into it. I’m not really sure he could do anything at this point.”

Independent Gatewood Galbraith is also running. Caswell says she hasn’t decided who, if anyone, she’ll support.

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Johnson Declares Victory

The Republican nominee for the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office has already begun his general election campaign.

Bill Johnson narrowly defeated Hilda Legg to win the nomination, and he says his Tea Party endorsement and appeal to mainstream Republicans will make him a formidable opponent against Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes.

In his victory speech, Johnson repeated his support for one of the more controversial issues of the Secretary of State’s race.

“Now as I campaign, I’m going to continue to talk about the issues. First, we need to have a requirement in this state that you show a picture ID before you vote, and I’m going to work hard to make that happen,” he says.

Opponents of such measures say the requirement disenfranchises poor and minority voters.

Johnson further said he has to reach out to Legg’s supporters to ensure a united Republican front in November.