Sunday Chatter: Senate candidates hit familiar trails, perception change with Paul and more

05/11/2014 09:04 PM

The frontrunners to meet in November in the U.S. Senate race spent their second to last weekend before their respective primaries talking about the same theme this weekend.

Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell canvassed five Republican stronghold counties in southern Kentucky on Saturday and focused his remarks on jobs, as WBKO reported . McConnell, still taking hits from his comments to an Eastern Kentucky newspaper that job creation is more of Frankfort’s job than his, blamed President Barack Obama’s policies for job loses in some areas and slow growth in others.

At the same, Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes continued her bus tour over through western Kentucky to underscore her theme of job creation. In stops in Owensboro and Henderson , Grimes touted her proposals she says will help the middle class, including raising the minimum wage.

Of the two, McConnell has the tougher primary with Matt Bevin raising seven figures in his attempt to win the GOP nomination. The Courier-Journal’s James Carroll reports that McConnell “continues to shift to the right” based on conservative scorecards. McConnell declined an interview with Carroll for the article.

But McConnell supporters are clearly looking ahead to November. The Kentuckians for Strong Leadership PAC is pumping $550,000 over three weeks into ads slamming Grimes, as Sam Youngman of the Herald-Leader reported.

GOP leaders on Paul: Can he win the general?

Speaking of shifts, Politico reports that national Republican leaders have changed their thinking about U.S. Sen. Rand Paul from whether he can win the GOP nomination for president in 2016 to whether he can win the general election.

Meanwhile, Paul warned Republicans not go “too crazy” on passing voter ID laws or risk alienating African-American voters, as the New York Times reported Friday .

Doing their own cleanup

Members of a group called Northern Kentucky People Advocating Recovery are taking cleanup of dirty needles into their own hands and scheduling weekend details to scour the eight counties in the region for used heroin needles, the Northern Kentucky Enquirer reports .

Dirty heroin needles are contributing to rising rates of Hepatitis C and HIV. And while they pose a public health threat, the Kentucky General Assembly failed to pass a heroin bill that included a needle exchange program aimed at taking many of those needles off the street.

The problem is most intense in Northern Kentucky. From Terry DeMio’s article:

A recent Drug Free NKY Facebook post asked people where they’ve found syringes and needles. Responses included locations in Newport, Covington, Florence, Edgewood, Bellevue and parks in Pendleton and Grant counties. Others also recently have reported seeing needles in large parking lots, including in Fort Mitchell, Newport and Alexandria, in alleys, along the exits of highways and other parks and in a front in Crestview Hills.

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