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Frankfort Local News

Principled Endorsement Gives Candidate Hope in Sixth Congressional District Primary

An outside Republican group is backing the long shot candidate in tomorrow’s Sixth Congressional District Republican Primary.

Patrick Kelly is running against Andy Barr. Barr won the 2010 GOP primary, and is expected to win this year as well.

But today, Kelly picked up a last-minute endorsement from the Republican Liberty Caucus, a Texas group that has endorsed in other Kentucky races this year.

The nod is unlikely to tip the race in Kelly’s favor, and caucus chairman Dave Nalle says the endorsement is largely symbolic.

“But I think Kelly has good issue positions, and that maybe him appealing as someone to put up there just to make a point, if nothing else. I would love it if he won this race, I can’t think he’s necessarily going to win this race but I think in the future he’s going to be a guy you see again,” Nalle says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Federal Delegation Catches Basketball Fever

The upcoming battle in the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four between the Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats has made its way to Washington, with members of the federal delegation marking the contest.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says Saturday’s game proves the commonwealth is the best college basketball state in the nation and that it will be one of the greatest moments in Kentucky’s sports history.

“From birth, it seems, Kentuckians are raised to root for one of two teams—you either wear red for the Louisville Cardinals, or blue for the Kentucky Wildcats,” he says. “If the excitement and frenzy and turbulence that’s been stirred up in Kentucky this week could be harnessed, we could solve our energy crisis. Basketball fans from Kentucky have been waiting their whole lives for this game.”

Local and state elected officials have also touted the game as the two teams prepare and the sports world focuses on the rivalry.

Earlier this week, the mayors of Louisville and Lexington made a friendly wager and Governor Steve Beshear appeared on ESPN’s Sportscenter to talk about the games economic impact on the state.

As an alumnus of both universities, McConnell avoided picking either the Cards or the Cats, but promises the victor will go on to win the national championship.

“I don’t know who will win Saturday’s game. But I do know this: whoever the winner is, they will go on to defeat either Kansas or Ohio State and bring a national championship back home to Kentucky where it belongs. So count me in with my fellow Kentuckians and college basketball fans everywhere as we tune in this Saturday to see history in the making. It’s going to be very exciting to watch,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Kentucky Federal Delegation Supports Disaster Declaration

Following Kentucky’s two U.S. Senators, the six members of the state’s House delegation sent a letter to President Barack Obama supporting Gov. Steve Beshear’s request for a federal disaster declaration.

An outbreak of storms and tornadoes last week caused damage to several Kentucky towns and Beshear has asked the president to provide the state with federal relief. Thus far, 21 residents have died and 48 counties have suffered extensive damage to public and private property.

Congressmen Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, John Yarmuth, Geoff Davis, Harold Rogers and Ben Chandler said the severe weather caused damage that the state cannot pay for alone.

“As the Governor conveyed in his letter, the severity and scope of the damage caused by these storms is beyond the capabilities of the Commonwealth and the local governments that have been affected,” the delegation writes. “Immediate consideration of the Governor’s disaster declaration request on your part would aid Kentucky communities so severely affected by this most recent disaster.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

NRCC Elevates Barr to ‘Young Guns’ Program

The National Republican Congressional Committee has raised the profile of Kentucky 6th congressional district race by elevating GOP challenger Andy Barr, who is hoping to face Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler again this fall.

Despite two other Republicans being in the GOP primary, the NRCC highlighted Barr’s benchmarks as their reason for elevating his candidacy. In a statement, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions all but guaranteed Barr would win the race and have a rematch against Chandler.

From CN2:

“We are looking forward to working with Andy Barr, who has already proven himself by meeting rigorous benchmarks in the ‘Young Guns’ program that will position his campaign for victory,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas said in a statement. “Andy Barr’s dedication and experience enables him to advocate effectively for pro-growth policies and fight the failed status quo in Washington.”

(SNIP)

The news from Washington comes as Barr and his supporters have ramped up their lobbying of lawmakers to resist a compromise on the congressional district map. The suggested version that has come out negotiations among Republican Senate and Democratic House leaders, as well as representatives from some of the incumbent congressmen, would alter the 6th District by moving some conservatives areas, such as Garrard County and part of Jessamine County, into the 2nd District while spreading the 6th District east to some slightly Democratic counties, such as Bath, Rowan and Wolfe.

Republicans Patrick Kelly II of Lexington and Curtis Kenimer of Paris are also running for the GOP nomination.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Area Lawmakers React to State of the Union Address

Several lawmakers from the region have responded to President Obama’s annual State of the Union address, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who earlier criticized the speech before it was delivered.

The responses follow the official GOP reaction from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and an unofficial one from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who both criticized the speech.

From McConnell:

“Tonight, the President delivered a campaign speech designed to please his liberal base. The President told the American people that he has a blueprint for the economy, but what he failed to mention is that we’ve been working off the President’s blueprint for three years. And what’s it gotten us: millions still looking for work, trillions in debt, and the first credit downgrade in U.S. history.

The President also proposed some ideas tonight that could have bipartisan support. If he’s serious about those proposals — if he really wants to enact them — he’ll encourage the Democrats who run the Senate to keep them free from poison pills like tax hikes on job creators that we know from past experience turn bipartisan support into bipartisan opposition.

The President can decide he’s not interested in working with Congress if his party only controls one half of it. That’s his prerogative. He can give up on bipartisanship. But we won’t. Our problems are too urgent. The economy is too weak. The future is too uncertain.

Let the President turn his back on bipartisanship. But we intend to do our jobs. And we invite him to join us.”

Other regional leaders are also adding their thoughts to the president’s address.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Barr Blasts House Redistricting Plan

Republican congressional candidate Andy Barr is criticizing Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, over the a redistricting plan that passed the lower chamber Tuesday.

The GOP challenger is running against U.S. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., in a rematch from 2010, where the Lexington attorney lost by razor-thin margin of less than 700 votes.

Barr says the Democratic-controlled state House passed a “politically-motivated gerrymandering” plan that is designed to protect the incumbent.

“While most Kentuckians are worried about finding or keeping their jobs, Ben Chandler is obviously more concerned about protecting his own job by promoting an incumbent-protection scheme that removes tens of thousands of central Kentucky voters from the 6th Congressional District,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

NRCC Challenges Chandler to Support Balanced Budget Amendment

Putting political pressure on U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., the National Republican Congressional Committee is challenging the central Kentucky lawmaker to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The new rule would require the federal budget be balanced and that the government cannot spend more than projected receipts and expenditures. The Republican-controlled House has pushed the measure as a way to limit spending and has scheduled a vote for November 14, but the language still hasn’t been finalized.

Over the summer, Chandler announced his “strong support” for a version of the measure as part of a coalition of conservative Democrats.

The GOP’s campaign arm is demanding the congressman vow to support whatever legislation comes out.

“Ben Chandler should provide more than lip service to his constituents on fiscal responsibility this week and let them know how he intends to vote on the balanced budget amendment next week,” NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay said in a news release. “Chandler should take action to right the Democrats’ wrongs after years of spending and borrowing that have left Kentucky families and future generations indebted to foreign countries like China.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Kentucky Lawmakers Praise Medal of Honor Recipient

Kentucky native Dakota Meyer received the Medal of Honor from President Obama Thursday, becoming the first living Marine to receive the award in four decades.

Speaking from the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama thanked Meyer and other members of his unit for their service in Afghanistan.

“You did your duty above and beyond, and you kept the faith with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps you love,” Obama said.

Earlier, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised the 23-year-old Marine corporal for his bravery in Afghanistan and other lawmakers from the commonwealth have since joined the chorus of cheers.

From U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky.:

“Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer has received numerous decorations and awards for his service and devotion to his country. This son of Kentucky has now received the highest honor, and the gratitude and pride of an entire nation for his service.”

From U.S. Ben Chanlder, D-Ky.:

“Sergeant Dakota Meyer represents the very best our country has to offer, and I think I can speak on behalf of all Kentuckians when I say that he makes our state proud.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

NRCC Blames Credit Downgrade on Chandler “Spending Spree”

Highlighting the importance of the state’s 6th congressional district in the 2012 election, the National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a series of robo-calls against U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., telling voters the congressman should get serious about reining in reckless spending.

The 30-second calls being sent across central Kentucky blame “Chandler and his fellow Democrats’ addiction to big government spending” for the country’s recent credit downgrade. It goes further, accusing the incumbent of standing in the way of fiscal reform and opposing the Tea Party-backed Balanced Budget Amendment.

“America’s credit rating has been downgraded, the cost of living could rise and every day our economy weakens as Ben Chandler and his fellow out-of-touch Democrats refuse to address the consequences of their political agenda,” NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay said in a news release. “Ben Chandler claims that he supports an urgent balanced approach to recovery, but he and his party have engaged in a wild spending spree that has cost America its credit standing and any hope for economy stability in the near future.”

In its analysis, however, the rating agency Standards & Poor’s held the gridlock among congressional leaders as the cause for country’s credit demotion. It specifically cited an inept Congress and partisan finger pointing as the reason it took the rating to AA+ plus from its highest rating, AAA.

Chandler is facing a potential rematch against Republican congressional candidate Andy Barr, who came within less than 700 votes of unseating him last year. Earlier this week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took a swipe at Barr in a radio advertisement. Among the 44 districts listed, Barr was the only GOP challenger targeted by DCCC.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

DCCC Targets Barr for “Accountability August” Campaign

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee continued to underscore Republican congressional candidate Andy Barr’s support for the Ryan budget plan in a new radio ad that began airing Monday.

Barr is challenging Congressman Ben Chandler, D-Ky., in a rematch from 2010, where he came within less than 700 votes of unseating the incumbent last fall.

In a month-long campaign dubbed “Accountability August”, which includes radio ads, robocalls, billboards and door-to-door canvassing, the group is running ads across central Kentucky claiming Barr “supports ending Medicare to protect tax breaks for big oil and millionaires.” It also asks voters to tell the 38-year-old GOP candidate to “stop choosing millionaires over seniors.”

Among the 44 Republicans being targeted by the DCCC, Barr is the only GOP challenger on the list, which may indicate how important the 6th congressional district is for Democrats to win back the House and how nervous they feel about Chandler losing next November.