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United Kentucky Tea Party Accuses Mitch McConnell of Delaying Military Voting Bill

United Kentucky Tea Party is blaming Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell for stalling a bill in the General Assembly that would have allowed Kentucky's military service members to vote electronically while overseas. The legislation was spearheaded by Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and backed by Republican state Senate President Robert Stivers. In January, Stivers told WFPL Frankfort Bureau Chief Kenny Colston he wanted the bill to pass quickly. But at a committee meeting this week, Stivers urged an amendment that weakened the measure.


From The Lexington Herald-Leader:


After the committee unanimously approved the amended version of Senate Bill 1, Stivers acknowledged that he had consulted with U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell about the measure. McConnell, a Republican, is seeking re-election next year. Many Democrats are urging Grimes to run against him. (SNIP) McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer said McConnell's staff provided "technical input to Senator Stivers, but our office did not draft the amendments nor did we see them before they were adopted." In a statement sent to WFPL, the coalition of 14 different Tea Party groups applauded Grimes and Stivers for their bipartisan cooperation. Spokesman John Kemper says extending the franchise to those serving overseas is important, and alleges McConnell is behind its failure. From UKTP:

UKTP has deep concerns surrounding minority leader in the US Senate Mitch McConnell injecting himself into the Kentucky state senate legislative process, to of all things complicate, delay and possible cause the votes of our proud military men and women to not be counted in future election. UKTP would hope McConnell as leader of the senate minority would focus like a laser on "solving the biggest problem confronting our country that’s our spending addiction" as he is so frequently reminding us all along the GOP Lincoln Day dinner circuit each weekend. United Kentucky Tea Party hopes the Republican led state senate will support the right of our troops to have their votes counted and support SB 1.

Stivers denies McConnell had anything to do with the proposed changes, and that county clerks  were the ones who raised concerns. Kemper has been a vocal critic of McConnell's leadership, telling the radio station he is on a "short-list" of potential primary challengers in 2014. Observers point out that this step torpedoes a measure backed by Grimes, who is a rising star in the party and one of the targets of an attack ad released by Team Mitch earlier this week.

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