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Clicks to pick: Wednesday Political Update

by Joe Arnold


Posted on February 17, 2010 at 12:38 AM

Some family matters might keep me away from the blog until Friday, so here is a comprehensive update from the WHAS11.com Political Blog.  Also, just a reminder, send your tips, links and ideas to me at jarnold@whas11.com.  Confidentiality guaranteed.  All campaigns are encouraged to send me updates. 

Kentucky State Budget 

The Herald-Leader's Beth Musgrave reports that House Speaker Greg Stumbo is days away from releasing his budget plan.

 .... that cuts more than 250 political appointees, trims spending on private contractors, tinkers with the state health insurance program and delays some construction projects.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, also said the plan will rely on $220 million in not-yet-approved federal support for the Medicaid program.

GOP U.S. Senate debate

A video of the contentious Republican primary debate in Paducah can be seen by clicking here.  The Saturday debate included the expected sniping between Rand Paul and Trey Grayson (though Paul opened the door in his first statement) and what Bill Johnson supporters hope is the beginning of statewide recognition of his tenacious, if not unlikely, Senate dream.

Indiana U.S. Senate race (bye-Bayh)

Photographer Forrest Clem and I made the two-hour drive to Bloomington on Tuesday to meet longshot candidate Tamyra d'Ippolito who needed to collect 500 signatures from each of Indiana's nine congressional districts by noon Tuesday to become the only Democrat on the primary ballot (courtesy Evan Bayh's decision not to run for a third term).

 Here's my story from the 5pm newscast.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker says no one, including d'Ippolito made that deadline, but d'Ippolito says county clerks told her that it would take one week to know for sure, and she also contends that she can still collect signatures past the deadline. 

We met at her Italian restaurant in downtown Bloomington, Ragazzi Arte Cafe, which features all sorts of artwork on its walls.  d'Ippolito says she lost out on some business Monday night when she decided not to open the restaurant because MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show was going to interview her via satellite.  d'Ippolito says about 15 minutes before the NBC-provided driver was to pick her up, MSNBC cancelled, offering no explanation.  When Parker showed up on the show, d'Ippolito said she figured "the machine" quashed her interview.

That "machine," the 32 member state central committee will handpick the Democrats' nominee for the November election.

 "We do not have to have it stuffed down our throats," d'Ippolito told me, "'This is your guy and you're going to vote for him or else.'"

And, in a statement, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn is echoing that sentiment.  “Assuming there is no qualified candidate that files the appropriate documentation before the deadline, Senator Bayh should call on the State Democratic Party to ask an Indiana court to extend the candidate filing deadline," Cornyn said.

Mitch McConnell

 Newsweek's Howard Fineman offers up a profile of Sen. Mitch McConnell

 Even at his age and station, McConnell hasn't lost the central reason for his success: an unrivaled instinct for the modern, Southern-based politics of cultural resentment. His roots are in a modest, middle-class part of South Louisville. Always the student-body president, he made up in hard work what he lacked in connections.

The Kentucky liberal blog "Barefoot and Progressive" has the full video of McConnell's tearful Senate floor farewell to his Chief of Staff.

3rd District Congressional Race

Republican Larry Hausman is talking about tax breaks to spur employment.  He's proposing that employers who hire new employees over their average number of employees for the last three months get a double tax deduction for salary or hourly wages.  Hausman says the election of Scott Brown and recent polls are keeping him positive about the race.

Republican Brooks Wicker is taking aim at incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth:

Yarmuth gives away his salary while voting away yours

I commend Mr. Yarmuth for again donating his congressional salary to local charities. But aren’t you tired of these wealthy guys, like Mr. Yarmuth, who are so out of touch with life as the rest of us know it, buying an office and playing at politics? Politicians like Mr. Yarmuth, who are wrong on almost every issue that affects their constituency; voting for higher taxes, Cap and Trade, the Health Care debacle, and sky high deficits for as far as the eye can see. Mr. Yarmuth is basically voting down the line for the Nancy Pelosi agenda for America. Millionaires, like Mr. Yarmuth, can afford to give away their salary and not miss a beat. I wonder how many of Mr. Yarmuth’s constituency can afford his voting record much less to give away their entire salary, particularly in today’s economic environment? I know I can’t.

Yarmuth has sent an update with an optimistic  tone to constituents on his e-mail list:

With Congress now planning for the new session, we have the opportunity to reflect on the past year that began under the most dismal of circumstances. Just one year ago, our economy was in crisis with a housing market in a freefall, the American automobile industry on the brink of extinction, and nearly 60 percent of the American public felt that we may be headed for another Great Depression.
Although the challenges facing us in 2010 remain immense, signs are now indicating that America’s momentum has once again shifted toward the positive. The GDP had its best quarter for growth in two years. By enacting tax credits for first-time homebuyers, Congress reignited the housing market, while the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act has helped tens of thousands of Americans avoid foreclosure. Ford capped 2009 with a 33 percent sales increase, their first full-year market share gain since 1995. And Congress is reestablishing America as the global innovation leader by investing in clean energy technology.   At GE’s Appliance Park, more than 800 new jobs are being created because of these investments, and Ford appears ready to move a new line of energy-efficient vehicles from Germany to Louisville, likely creating hundreds – if not thousands – of new jobs.

These improvements are promising, but we have a long way to go on the road to recovery. That is why, as the House begins its second session of the 111th Congress, I am committed to an agenda that is focused on enacting health insurance reform, creating jobs and strengthening our economy.


Louisville Mayor's Race 

Republican Chris Thieneman says there will be no Mint Jubilee this year.  It's been one of the biggest pre-Derby parties in Louisville for 15 years, but Thieneman, the co-founder of the Mint Jubilee, announced Tuesday that the Oaks night fundraiser for cancer research will take a one-year hiatus.   Thieneman says he is no longer affiliated with the event because of his run for mayor. There is an ongoing lawsuit against the UofL Foundation and James Graham Cancer Center over trademark infringement. The University of Louisville still plans to  hold the Julep Ball this year.

 The Courier-Journal's Dan Klepal has the highlights of another mayoral candidate forum

Eleven of the 12 candidates answered questions during the debate, including Democrat Burrel Charles Farnsley, who arrived a half-hour late wearing shorts. All the other candidates were dressed in business suits, with the eight other men all wearing dark blue jackets.

Democrat Tyler Allen sends an invitation to his Wednesday webcast which will include more about the forum:

Louisville, Ky. – Soul Unique Restaurant located at 26th & Broadway will host Tyler Allen's next LIVE webcast Wednesday Feb. 16th at 12:30pm.  The event is open to the public both at Soul Unique and online at Tyler's USTREAM.tv Channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tyler-allen-for-mayor.

Tyler will be discussing the Louisvill Downtown Management District's Candidates' Forum, sharing his ideas for real growth for our City, and answering any questions.

And Jim King sends this news release about a union endorsement:

Abestos and Insulation Workers Local 51 endorses Jim King for Mayor of Louisville

February 12, 2010

Today, the Asbestos and Insulation Workers Local 51 proudly endorsed Jim King for Mayor of Louisville. The endorsement comes as the first from a building trades union after the larger Council (Greater Louisville Building and Construction Trades Council) decided last week to allow the local unions to endorse individually.

"I thank the hard working members of the Asbestos and Insulation Workers Union for their endorsement in this campaign," said Councilman King. "My commitment to working families has always been that I will stand up with them to find good paying jobs in a quality work environment. I appreciate the commitment our Asbestos and Insulation workers have made to me and my campaign."

Councilman King has had a 100% pro-labor record as Metro Councilman, standing with working families on issues like a living wage, fair labor standards and supporting apprenticeship programs. Additionally, he recently released "Ten Commitments to Louisville's Working Families" that provides workers with a written commitment that ensures their voice will be heard in city government.

"This is another strong endorsement, and continues to show the momentum this campaign is gaining," says Jonathan Hurst, Campaign Manager for King's Mayoral Campaign. "Councilman King has a proven record of leadership for working families and organized labor on the Metro Council, and is committed as our next Mayor to be a strong voice for working men and women."