The Chatter: Heiner's PAC raises $252K, more vehicle questions for Grimes campaign, indicted House candidate stands firm

10/03/2014 02:09 PM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner announced Friday that his super PAC, New Direction Kentucky, raised $252,500 to help elect Republican state House candidates this fall.

“There is nothing more important right now than electing legislators who will help make Kentucky competitive for jobs,” Heiner said in a press release. “That has been my commitment for this year and will continue to be my focus until November 4.”

Heiner’s campaign, in the press release, said New Direction Kentucky’s fundraising total fulfills two commitments from Heiner: focusing his efforts on GOP legislative candidates while sidelining fundraisers for his gubernatorial campaign.

Other big-name Republicans joined Heiner when he launched New Direction Kentucky Jan. 29, including Stanton banker Jess Correll, Corbin banker Terry Forcht, former Republican Party of Kentucky chairmen Darrell Brock and Bob Gable, and former state director for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell Larry Cox.

Transportation continues to dog Grimes campaign

A new campaign vehicle issue has resurfaced for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, CQ Roll Call reported Friday.

The news organization reported that other vehicles owned by Grimes’ father, former Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan, have been used by Grimes’ campaign, such as a Chevrolet Suburban registered to Lundy’s Catering of Lexington. The Grimes campaign did not respond when asked specifically about using the Suburban, according to the report.

This marks the second time a transportation issue has surfaced in an already contentious U.S. Senate race. Politico first reported in August that a 45-foot tour bus owned by Lundergan and leased to Grimes’ campaign that costs the candidate about $156 per day, which the Grimes campaign defended by releasing comparable rates it obtained before agreeing on the rate. The revelation prompted the Republican Party of Kentucky to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

In September, Pure Politics found the Lundergan parent company, S.R. Holding Co., applied for a charter bus permit with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet shortly after the Courier-Journal reported that the company failed to obtain proper permits for the bus.

Indicted Democratic House candidate won’t withdraw

John Wayne Smith, who’s running against GOP Rep. Michael Meredith in the 19th House District, will continue his campaign in light of a federal indictment against him for failing to report sexual abuse against a minor during his time at the Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy at Fort Knox.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports Smith told supporters his intent to remain in the race at the Edmunson County Courthouse on Thursday, even after Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman encouraged him to end his bid and said the party would no longer support his candidacy.

Smith said he expects the charge against him will either be dismissed or he will be found innocent, according to the newspaper.

“An innocent person who wavers at the first instance of false accusation or criticism would be unworthy to be called your representative,” he said in the Daily News report. “… If anyone would think that I’m going to be a puppet for the state Democratic party, I would hope that these actions would remove that from your mind.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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