A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Amy McGrath: We can rebuild Kentucky even stronger, but first there must be positive change

Over the last two weeks in Kentucky, we have had our two highest weekly coronavirus case counts yet. Meanwhile, nationwide, we are again seeing more than 60,000 cases a day on average. Economically, our true unemployment rate in Kentucky seems to be over 10%. Compared to other wealthy countries, our inability to control this virus and help our citizens who are struggling is staggering. When I pressed...

Bill Straub: Duplicity, duplicity, duplicity, thy name is Mitch — and all in the cause of party over country

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell has been playing the voters of the Commonwealth for suckers for most of the 36 years he has spent in Washington and now, apparently, he no longer finds it necessary to hide his chronic duplicity. Just last week, Amy McGrath, McConnell’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 3 Senate election, took the Louisville lawmaker to task during...

Al Cross: McConnell’s good at politics but for whom?

In the only debate of their race, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Amy McGrath painted very different pictures of the incumbent, on whom the election is essentially a referendum. The Senate majority leader, seeking a seventh six-year term, portrayed himself Monday night as a supremely accomplished practitioner of politics who gives Kentucky an advantage when states compete for federal money. “It’s not...

Bill Straub: McConnell was punched out in the debate with clear-winner McGrath; will it make a difference?

The most provocative, and therefore most interesting, moment in Monday’s televised debate pitting Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell against the Democrat seeking to displace him, former fighter pilot Amy McGrath, came when the man who refers to himself as the Grim Reaper threw in the towel. The moment went by nearly unnoticed. Over the first 20 minutes of the hour-long...

Al Cross: McConnell, his power tested, needs a deal at this critical time for him and the nation

The last two times Kentuckians have re-elected Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Senate, his best logical argument has been his growing power: as minority leader in 2008, and would-be majority leader in 2014, why should a state with many needs give up such influence? Voters say it again and again. For most of his current campaign, McConnell has made a similar pitch, overtly in ads and subtly in “earned...

Al Cross: Does Amy McGrath have any chance against Mitch McConnell?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell surely smiled as he watched Amy McGrath slip, stumble and nearly fall to state Rep. Charles Booker in the Democratic primary for his seat. The first challenger who could match Mr. Money dollar for dollar had to drain half her campaign fund to fend off an upstart who was the ideal surfer of a historic wave of outrage about police treatment of his fellow African...

Bill Straub: Amy McGrath has won nomination to challenge Mitch McConnell; what will she do with it?

So, now that Amy McGrath has won the Democratic nomination to challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell in the fall, what is she going to do with it? Not much, if you listen to the analysts who are paid to handicap this sort of thing. Both Sabato’s Crystal Ball, ramrodded by Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and the Cook Political...

Daily Yonder: How Amy McGrath defeated Charles Booker in Democratic primary — by the numbers

By Tim Marema Editor, Daily Yonder Former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath took the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Kentucky by winning in rural counties, small metropolitan areas, and the suburbs of the state’s two largest cities, Lexington and Louisville. McGrath defeated State Representative Charles Booker by 11,100 votes, which amounted to about 3 percentage points of the record-breaking...

Al Cross: Any doubt about the vote count could resonate long past the primary

Voting for the Democratic nomination to face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is over, but the election is not, because most ballots were mail-in absentees due to the pandemic and are still being counted. That means the campaigns aren’t over, either, and that could affect the general election. Wednesday afternoon, the campaign of state Rep. Charles Booker sought donations “to hire lawyers,...

Bill Straub: Will McConnell maintain majority leader status, even if he defeats his Democrat opponent?

To the vast relief of a grateful but beleaguered nation, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell, has made it clear that, should the good folks of Kentucky choose to return him to the upper chamber for the seventh time this November, he would be more than willing to continue to serve as capo di tutti capi of the GOP caucus, whether it maintains its majority for another two...

Al Cross: Charles Booker, Mike Broihier harvest votes on a field Amy McGrath planted

When Amy McGrath ran for the U.S. House in 2018, Cameron French was with her. He was a campus organizer at the University of Kentucky, where he is a student. But now, as McGrath seeks the Democratic nomination for senator, he’s organizing for state Rep. Charles Booker. French said he abandoned McGrath on the second day of her Senate campaign, when she told the Courier Journal that she would have...

Al Cross: National shift makes Booker the Senate candidate of the moment, at least for now

It is easy for some to say that the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd was an outlier, not representative of his own department, much less police in general. But he was representative enough – of a streak in police, and in society, that still regards people of color as second-class beings, not worthy of full respect. It is a poisonous streak, one that keeps America from overcoming...

Letter to the Editor: Col Owens says support Amy McGrath and healthcare for all — realistically

A major issue facing Kentuckians in this fall’s U.S. Senate election is health care. All Democratic candidates support universal access to coverage. How to get there is what differentiates them. Amy McGrath recognizes that access to health care, like access to basic education, enhances our quality of life while undergirding our nation’s security and competitiveness. She proposes a thoughtful, realistic...

Al Cross: McConnell again makes a boulder out of a pebble, then makes political hay of crisis

It’s a time for us to be apart literally, and a time to be together figuratively. But politics long ago moved mainly to the figurative battlefield, and we shouldn’t expect its divisiveness to take a holiday even in a deadly pandemic. And now the crisis itself is an issue. Two weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager was calling on his likely Democratic opponent, Amy...

Al Cross: Governor Andy Beshear is showing us what he’s made of; it’s sterner stuff than you thought

In a crisis that could be a catastrophe for millions of Americans, politics may seem irrelevant. But politics probably made the coronavirus crisis worse, and yet it could prevent catastrophe for many. And crises can change politicians, and reveal things about them, so this space will keep tabs on those we have chosen to lead us; if that isn’t your cup of tea right now, please move on. First, the...

Warren Greer: Andy Beshear’s victory saves the Kentucky Democratic Party’s ‘glass floor’

At long last, Kentucky’s 2019 gubernatorial election is over. As a life-long Democrat and a firm believer in decency and civility, I’m glad Matt Bevin got what he deserved. But I’m also a little sad that Andy Beshear won, because the elitist faction of the Kentucky Democratic Party (KDP) now has new life and was not as fully exposed as it otherwise would have been. Just think what the storylines...

Al Cross: Of course, we agree with Mitch McConnell that we need more ‘civility’ in our public discourse

“Elections have consequences” is a favorite saying for politicians of all stripes, and for those of us who try to make sense of what they say (or don’t say). But elections also have lessons, and those who learn from them are usually the most successful in politics. One of America’s most successful politicians, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, often keeps those lessons to himself, but...

Al Cross: McGrath stumbles, Broihier steps up, others in wings, then there’s Mitch McConnell

The very idea that Kentucky voters would turn out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next year, given his and their allegiance to President Trump, seems the stuff of fiction. But Amy McGrath made the all-but-impossible look possible in the first day of her Senate campaign last week, setting a first-day record of $2.5 million. McGrath thus raised the prospect that the national following and fund-raising...

Democrat and newcomer Michael Broihier enters primary race to take on McConnell in 2020 election

Staff report A second democrat and military veteran has entered the race for the primary nomination and a chance to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2020 elections. Michael Broihier is a former Marine lieutenant colonel, a farmer in Stanford, and a small-town newspaperman. Broihier released a campaign announcement video criticizing McConnell’s Grim Reaper role as refining...

Bill Straub: Enter fighter pilot Amy McGrath who will need big fire-power against Mitch McConnell

Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath is hoping that politics, like love in the old Sammy Cahn-Jimmy Van Heusen song, is lovelier the second time around. McGrath, the Democrat who fell to Rep. Andy “Empty Suit’’ Barr, R-Lexington, in a close-but-no-cigar race for the Commonwealth’s Sixth Congressional District seat last November, has emerged from the fog to challenge bigger game – Senate Republican...