The Chatter: Paul's tea party caucus, McConnell's groove and Conway's good-news-bad-news

07/15/2010 03:27 PM

Here’s some Kentucky political headlines from this week:

CNN contributor John P. Avlon ranked Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race between Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway fifth on his list of 10 to watch this morning. He placed it just behind Maryland’s governor’s race (which is a rematch of the 2006 contest) and two statewide contests in Ohio.

Paul says that, if elected to the Senate, he hopes to help create a tea party caucus along with South Carolina’s Jim DeMint and Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn, as reported by the National Review’s Robert Costa.

The national media, including CBS and the Washington Post, covered Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s remarks at the Young Republican Leadership Conference in Washington in which he said Republicans “got our groove back.”

Some good news for McConnell: DeMint doesn’t plan to challenge him for Republican Senate Leader, according to the Greenville News in South Carolina.

Some good news for Jack Conway: A state ethics panel dismissed a complaint filed against Conway by his primary, opponent, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, as the Herald-Leader reported.

Some bad news for Conway: Mongiardo still isn’t happy with Conway, wants help paying off an $80,000 campaign debt and is withholding his endorsement, the Courier-Journal reported.

Some bad news for Treasurer Todd Hollenbach: Steve Hamrick, a Hopkinsville Democrat and former Republican congressional candidate, announced to the Underground Rooster that he will challenge Hollenbach in a Democratic primary next year.

Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning said in a Senate committee meeting that late Yankees owners George Steinbrenner was “smart” to die when he did, as first reported by The Hill. Bunning linked Steinbrenner’s death to one of the issues Bunning is most passionate about: the elimination of the estate tax.

A state legislative task force signaled that the General Assembly could be ready to reform the Kentucky corrections system that is becoming an increasing drain on the state’s budget, Ronnie Ellis of CNHI News Service reports.

- Ryan Alessi

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