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May 13, 2016

May 13, 2016

Host Bill Bryant and a panel of journalists discuss the week's news, including the latest happenings on the campaign trail in advance of next Tuesday's elections. Guests: John Cheves of the Lexington Herald-Leader; Joe Gerth of the Louisville Courier-Journal; and Michael Gossum of WBKO-TV in Bowling Green.
S42 E28 Length 26:31 Premiere: 5.13.16

News of the Week: May 13, 2016

Candidates ranging from presidential contenders to state legislative challengers are making their final campaign stops ahead of Tuesday’s primary elections in the commonwealth.

The journalists on Comment on Kentucky previewed several key races and what to look for when the votes are tallied.

The Democratic Presidential Primary
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have barnstormed the state during the last week before the primary. But perhaps Bill Clinton had the toughest job as he campaigned for his wife in the eastern Kentucky coal community of Prestonsburg.

Joe Gerth of the Louisville Courier-Journal says the former president was booed by coal miners who were angry at Secretary Clinton’s statement in March that her policies would put coal companies and miners out of business. Gerth says Bill Clinton welcomed the miners to the rally and then explained how his wife planned to revitalize struggling coal communities.

Bill Clinton won Floyd County with more than two-thirds of the vote in the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections, according to Gerth. He adds that Hillary Clinton garnered 91 percent of the vote in the county’s 2008 Democratic presidential primary. But this year Gerth says the Clintons are struggling to keep the state, and especially the coal-producing counties, in their column.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sanders made several appearances across Kentucky, including visits to Bowling Green and Paducah. Sanders has attracted support from millennials, due in part to his platform of free tuition at public universities and community colleges. But if Sanders hopes to score big with Kentucky college students, he may be disappointed, says John Cheves of the Lexington Herald-Leader. In the state’s 2008 presidential primary, Cheves says only 26 percent of Democrats aged 18 to 24 turned out to vote. He says that compares to 52 percent turnout for Democrats over 50 years of age. So while Kentucky’s young adults may favor a certain candidate, Cheves says they don’t have a good record of actually voting on election days.

Michael Gossum of WBKO-TV in Bowling Green says he’s hearing predictions that Clinton could secure a narrow victory. But he says Sanders could win the state if he gets big numbers in Jefferson County. Gossum adds that Sanders is hurt by Kentucky’s closed primary, which means the senator won’t be able to count on ballots from voters who are registered as independents.

Kentucky has a total of 60 Democratic delegates to award to the candidates.

Senate and Congressional Races
In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Republican Rand Paul faces two challengers in the GOP primary: Lexington financial analyst James Gould and Louisville chemical engineer Stephen Slaughter. John Cheves says Lexington Mayor Jim Gray appears to be the front-runner in the crowded Democratic field. Cheves says Gray failed to deliver a polished performance at the candidate forum presented by KET last week. He says the millionaire businessman is a good administrator but not adept at off-the-cuff speaking.

In the 6th Congressional district race, incumbent Republican Andy Barr features a primary challenge from Harrison County Tea Party activist Roger Brill. Cheves says Brill supported Barr in his first run for Congress, but now feels the Congressman has “sold out” to the Washington establishment. In the Democratic primary, minister Nancy Jo Kemper faces retired state energy official Geoff Young. Barr easily won reelection in 2014, and Cheves says many poll-watchers consider it likely that the Lexington attorney will retain the seat.

Four Republicans are competing for the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional district. Michael Gossum says former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer of Monroe County has a comfortable lead in the polls. But, he says a high turnout in the western end of the district could help Mike Pape of Hopkinsville. Pape served as district director for U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, who is retiring. Gossum says the Democratic Primary has only one candidate, Hopkinsville construction worker Sam Gaskins.

Key State Legislative Contests
Among the 19 primary races for the state Senate, Joe Gerth says he’s watching contests in the 31st and 33rd senatorial districts. In eastern Kentucky’s 31st, Pikeville attorney Glenn Hammond is challenging Democratic incumbent Ray Jones, who is the minority floor leader in the Senate. Gerth says Hammond is attacking Jones for supporting Hillary Clinton in the past. In western Jefferson County’s 33rd district, incumbent Sen. Gerald Neal has two Democratic challengers: former District Court Judge Joan Stringer and Charles Booker, who once worked for Neal.

On the House side, Gerth says Jimmy Rose, a former state representative from Martin, is challenging House Speaker Greg Stumbo in the 95th House district. Gerth says Rose is critical of Stumbo for spending too much time in his Lexington home and neglecting the needs of the district.

Gerth says he’s also watching two Jefferson County races. Incumbent Republican Rep. Ron Crimm in the 33rd House district has two challengers, including the son of former state Rep. Mike Nemes. And in the Democratic primary in the 41st district, incumbent Rep. Tom Riner faces former Louisville Metro Council member Attica Scott.

The opinions expressed on Comment on Kentucky and in this program synopsis are the responsibility of the participants and do not necessarily reflect those of KET.

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Comment on Kentucky

About Comment on Kentucky

KET's longest-running public affairs program has been assembling journalists to offer perspectives on the week's news and newsmakers since 1974. The program is hosted by Bill Bryant.

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Season 42 Episodes

October 28, 2016

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October 21, 2016

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October 14, 2016

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October 7, 2016

S42 E49 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 10.7.16

September 30, 2016

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September 23, 2016

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September 16, 2016

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September 9, 2016

S42 E45 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 9.9.16

September 2, 2016

S42 E44 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 9.2.16

August 26, 2016

S42 E43 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 8.26.16

August 19, 2016

S42 E42 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 8.19.16

August 12, 2016

S42 E41 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 8.12.16

August 5, 2016

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July 22, 2016

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July 8, 2016

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June 17, 2016

S42 E33 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.17.16

June 10, 2016

S42 E32 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.10.16

June 3, 2016

S42 E31 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 6.3.16

May 27, 2016

S42 E30 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 5.27.16

May 20, 2016

S42 E29 Length 26:53 Premiere Date 5.20.16

May 13, 2016

S42 E28 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 5.13.16

May 6, 2016

S42 E27 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 5.6.16

April 29, 2016

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April 22, 2016

S42 E25 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.22.16

April 15, 2016

S42 E24 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.15.16

April 8, 2016

S42 E23 Length 26:39 Premiere Date 4.7.16

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S42 E22 Length 26:36 Premiere Date 3.31.16

March 25, 2016

S42 E21 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 3.25.16

March 18, 2016

S42 E20 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 3.18.16

March 11, 2016

S42 E19 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 3.11.16

March 4, 2016

S42 E18 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 3.4.16

February 26, 2016

S42 E17 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 2.26.16

February 19, 2016

S42 E16 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 2.19.16

February 12, 2016

S42 E15 Length 26:36 Premiere Date 2.12.16

February 5, 2016

S42 E14 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 2.5.16

January 29, 2016

S42 E13 Length 26:35 Premiere Date 1.29.16

January 22, 2016

S42 E12 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 1.22.16

January 15, 2016

S42 E11 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 1.15.16

January 8, 2016

S42 E10 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 1.8.16

January 1, 2016

S42 E9 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 1.1.16

December 18, 2015

S42 E7 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 12.18.15

December 11, 2015

S42 E6 Length 26:35 Premiere Date 12.11.15

December 4, 2015

S42 E5 Length 24:51 Premiere Date 12.4.15

November 27, 2015

S42 E4 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 11.27.15

November 20, 2015

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November 13, 2015

S42 E2 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 11.13.15

November 6, 2015

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