Grand jury won’t indict Bruce Lunsford, campaign aide

The Associated Press is reporting that a grand jury has reviewed claims that Democrat Bruce Lunsford and a campaign took and erased a recorder following a debate in western Kentucky last month, and won’t be issuing indictments. 

Lunsford, who lost Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race Tuesday to incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell, had been accused of taking the recorder from his podium and telling a campaign aide to erase its contents.

The recorder belonged to a campaign worker from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Lunsford said the recorder had been secretly placed at his podium against the rules of the debate. 

Here’s the AP story – 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) _ Grand jurors in western Kentucky refused to issue indictments Friday after reviewing claims that Democrat Bruce Lunsford’s Senate campaign tampered with a GOP digital recorder.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall said Sheriff Kevin Byars presented evidence to the grand jury in a brief meeting that began at 1 p.m. CST at the courthouse in Benton. Byars was the only witness.

“It was a unanimous decision on the part of all 12 grand jurors,” Darnall said. “It didn’t take them long to return a no true bill.” Continue reading

McConnell, Lunsford make sweeps through state today

Candidates for U.S. Senate Mitch McConnell and Bruce Lunsford are making final sweeps through Kentucky today to make a last pitch to voters. 

The Herald-Leader’s Ryan Alessi caught up with McConnell, the incumbent Republican from Louisville, in Lexington this morning and said McConnell was reluctant to analyze how the race has shaped up in the last few weeks. 

McConnell will be in Owensboro this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. for a stop at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport. Other stops along his route include Hebron in northern Kentucky, Lexington, Bowling Green, Hopkinsville and West Paducah.

Lunsford, a Louisville Democrat, is making his own tour around the state, and will be stopping in Greenville in Muhlenberg County at the county party’s headquarters.

Lunsford will be joined by Gov. Steve Beshear for many of the day’s stops, which include events in Lexington, Hopkinsville, Bowling Green and Paducah.


Pat Crowley with the Kentucky Enquirer is reporting about an unexpected encounter at a northern Kentucky airport this morning. 

Lunsford arrived at the airport to catch a private plane for the trip to his next stop and encountered a group of McConnell supporters gathered for the senator’s appearance at the same hangar.

Another round of hounds in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race

Republican Mitch McConnell’s campaign has offered its own new take on the famed 1984 ad that featured bloodhounds on the trail of then-incumbent U.S. Sen. Walter “Dee” Huddleston. 

That 24-year-old ad had the hounds searching for Huddleston who was accused of running from his record by McConnell, who beat Huddleston that year to win his first term in Congress. 

With four terms now behind him, McConnell has revamped that 1984 ad to have the hounds now chasing Democrat Bruce Lunsford, who this week offered his own take on the old hound commercial. 

McConnell’s new spot released Friday asks “what would these old hounds find if they went looking for Lunsford?”

“Would they find Bruce in his home in Florida, or California or his residence in Chicago?” the announceer asks. “Would they chase Bruce’s Porsches or jet or would they sniff out Lunsford’s record?”

Check out the new ad – 

Lunsford camp offers Halloween costume suggestion

Supporters of Bruce Lunsford received a Halloween costume suggestion from the Louisville Democrat’s campaign today – a  mask of Republican Mitch McConnell. 

The e-mail sent this morning by Lunsford Campaign Manager Brad Katz said the campaign “can’t think of anything scarier than another six years of Mitch McConnell.”

Here’s the rest – 

Another six years of obstructionism, putting his party ahead of Kentucky, avoiding accountability, and keeping America from changing course…. Be honest–he scares you, too.

So this Halloween, we’re offering you the scariest costume in Kentucky: a free downloadable Mitch McConnell mask!

Simply print the pattern, cut it out, and attach the sides with a rubber band.

You’ll be frightening small children (by stealing their health insurance), seniors (with plans to cut Social Security), and all Americans (by protecting corrupt officials, blocking middle class tax relief, and keeping us on the wrong track).

Hillary Clinton coming to Kentucky, Owensboro stop unlikely

Former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton will be in Kentucky Sunday campaigning for Democrat Bruce Lunsford, but a visit to Owensboro before Election Day seems unlikely. 

Clinton will make stops in Hazard in far eastern Kentucky and in Louisville during the day as she talks up Lunsford, who is facing incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate race. 

Cary Stemle with the Lunsford campaign said the exact times and locations of those stops haven’t been set, but it is unlikely any other locations will be added to the trip. 

Moretta Bosley, a Clinton friend and the co-owner of Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn in Owensboro said she is still working to get Clinton to Owensboro, but has so far been unsuccessful. 

“Her schedule is in an extreme state of flux,” said Bosley, who was a superdelegate to this year’s Democratic National Convention. “She doesn’t know from one day to the next where she’s going to be. … I’m still trying.”

Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, was in Paducah and Bowling Green to campaign for Lunsford last week and his visit started talk that Hillary might be coming to western Kentucky as well.

New twist on “Switch to Mitch” pitch

Democrat Bruce Lunsford has brought the famed hounds from the 1984 U.S. Senate race in Kentucky back and sicked them on his Republican opponent Mitch McConnell. 

In a new ad released Wednesday, the Lunsford campaign mimics the ads McConnell ran in his successful campaign against Democratic incumbent Water “Dee” Huddleston 24 years ago. 

The ads from that campaign had a man being led by bloodhounds searching for Huddleston, who McConnell said had been absent from Washington D.C. and was running from his record. 

Take a look at Page One Kentucky for the two clips from that 1984 race that carried the slogan “Switch to Mitch.” 

Now Lunsford’s ad has the hounds chasing McConnell with their handler holding a copy of “The McConnell Record.”

The announcer accuses McConnell of “bailing out Wall Street, tax breaks for Big Oil” and sending jobs to China while being one of the “most corrupt members of Congress.”

“No wonder Mitch is running from his record,” the announcer says. “But he can’t run forever. Twenty-four years in Washington is enough.”


The ad is one of three released by the Lunsford camp today. A second features U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton with clips from her visit to campaign for Lunsford and the third offers thoughts from a line-up of former Kentucky Governor including Paul Patton, John Y. Brown Jr., Martha Layne Collins and Julian Carroll.

More developments in “Recordergate”

The Associated Press is reporting that whether Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Bruce Lunsford and a campaign aide will face criminal charges in an incident involving a recorder last week will be up to a Marshall County grand jury. 

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall said Monday it’s probably a “toss-up” whether the grand jury will conclude that criminal charges are warranted in the case. Darnall says the grand jury in the western Kentucky county won’t meet before the election next Tuesday.

The flap is over the alleged theft of a recorder left at Lunsford’s podium during a debate last week at Kentucky Dam Village with Republican Mitch McConnell. 

A staffer with the National Republican Senatorial Committee filed a criminal complaint claiming that his recorder was taken by Lunsford and hours of recordings from the campaign trail were erased. 

Lunsford had denied any wrongdoing in the case and has said the incident is a distraction from the issues in the race.

And PolWatchers is reporting that a NRSC spokeswoman said today that the committee has new evidence in the case that shows Lunsford told his staff to not return the recorder to the NRSC staff, Richard St. Onge III.

Senate race coming to Owensboro

The two candidates for U.S. Senate in Kentucky will be coming to Owensboro in the next several days, but will miss each other by less than 48 hours as they begin their final full week of campaigning. 

Democrat Bruce Lunsford will be at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History in downtown Owensboro Saturday at 4 p.m. CST for a private fundraiser followed by an appearance at the Wendell H. Ford Democratic Picnic at the Sportscenter which begins at 5 p.m. 

Traveling with Lunsford with be former Nebraska governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, who will also be with Lunsford at a Hardin County stop earlier in the day. 

On Monday, Republican Mitch McConnell will bring his bus tour to Owensboro with a stop at 6 p.m. CST at the Republican Party headquarters at 1700 Frederica St. Owensboro is one of more than 60 stops along the tour that started earlier this week. 

No word on who will be traveling with McConnell for the stop in Owensboro.

Dispute over recorder at McConnell-Lunsford debate leads to criminal complaint

A dispute over a recorder used at this morning’s debate between Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Bruce Lunsford at Kentucky Dam Village has led to allegations of criminal conduct. 

The ruckus started after the debate when Lunsford allegedly took a recorder that had been placed at his podium during the debate and someone with his campaign erased its contents. 

The Lunsford camp has said that the recorder was placed at Lunsford’s podium against the rules of the debate and was erased after Lunsford discovered the recorder after the debate had concluded. 

Lunsford adviser Achim Bergmann told the Messenger-Inquirer that the recorder’s contents were erased because the recording represented an “unfair advantage” since no campaign materials were to be placed on the podiums during the debate. 

“It’s much ado about nothing,” Bergmann said. 

Lunsford and Bergmann have been named in a criminal complaint filed by National Republican Senatorial Committee staffer Richard St. onge III, who is accusing the pair of petty larceny and destruction of property. 

Read more about the dispute in the Herald-Leader and the Courier-Journal.

And to read about the actual political debate, check out the Herald-Leader.


The video from the debate could help clear up exactly what happened with the recorder after McConnell and Lunsford finished on Thursday. 

Mark Hebert with WHAS-TV has a link to a video that shows a young man retrieving something from Lunsford’s podium after Lunsford had already headed into the crowd to shake hands.

Trey Pollard with also has more on the debate and what at least one person has called “Recordergate.”

SurveyUSA poll shows McCain with lead, McConnell and Lunsford tied

The most recent SurveyUSA poll conducted for WHAS-TV in Louisville and WLEX-TV in Lexington shows Kentucky’s senior senator Mitch McConnell dead even with Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford as the race heads into the final two weeks. 

The poll released today tackled both the presidential and senatorial contests in Kentucky, and found Republican John McCain with a 13-point lead over Democrat Barack Obama. 

But in the U.S. Senate race, where the talk has been recently of a tightening contest, McConnell and Lunsford, a Louisville businessman, split the field of 535 likely voters with 48 percent each. 

McConnell appears to he fairing better with male voters while Lunsford is pulling in more female voters, according to the results. McConnell has a lead in western Kentucky and north central Kentucky while Lunsford is leading in Louisville and eastern Kentucky. 

Overall, more than 80 percent said their choices were firm and unlikely to change between now and Election Day on Nov. 4. 

The results come as McConnell is on a 60-plus stop bus tour around the state leading up to the election and Lunsford prepares to bring in big political names, including former President Bill Clinton, into the state to boost his efforts.

Those efforts include a stop in Owensboro Saturday for a fundraiser at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History followed by the Wendell H. Ford Democratic Picnic at the Sportscenter. Lunsford will be joined by former Nebraska governor and Sen. Bob Kerrey at both events.