A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Republican gubernatorial candidates take jabs at each other, Beshear during Fancy Farm picnic

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

While taking a couple jabs at each other, four of Kentucky’s main Republican candidates for governor in 2023 saved most of their barbs for the current office holder, Democrat Andy Beshear, during their speeches at the annual Fancy Farm picnic in western Kentucky on Saturday.

The event traditionally serves as the kickoff for the fall election campaign season in the state, and although there are several contested races on the federal level this year, most of the attention was on the 2023 election, which is when the state’s constitutional offices will be contested.

Some of the crowd gathered at Fancy Farm Saturday (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, one of the GOP gubernatorial hopefuls, took Beshear to task for actions he took during the COVID-19 pandemic, like having State Police troopers write down the license plates of those who attended church on Easter Sunday in defiance of a mandate that banned in-person services.

“Just because we lived through a global pandemic, doesn’t mean our rights, our liberties, and freedoms should be tossed out the window,” Quarles said. ”I’m Christian, I’m pro-life, I’m pro-gun. We need to fund our police, not defund our police.”

Beshear, who hadn’t planned to attend the political showcase event because of a trip to the Holy Land with his wife, Britainy, instead changed those plans after the horrific flooding in eastern Kentucky. On Saturday Beshear was consoling families that were displaced by the flooding more than a week ago. He visited two state parks where some of the suddenly homeless took refuge.

“Today I’m at our state parks, spending time with our Eastern Kentucky families who have been displaced from the catastrophic flooding,” Beshear posted on social media. “These Kentuckians have been through the unimaginable. My priority is being there for them.”

Attorney General Daniel Cameron mentioned last December’s deadly tornado outbreak in Western Kentucky and recent flooding in the east during his remarks.

“Whether we’re Republicans or Democrats, know that we are with you. When natural disasters strike, we take off our partisan hats and we work for each other. We help repair and we help rebuild. We cry together, we laugh together, and we pick each other up.”

Auditor Mike Harmon continued his tradition of telling jokes at Fancy Farm, with the theme of you might be a (fill in the blank). One of them this year was, “If you tell everyone the economy is on fire, but fail to say it’s a dumpster fire, you might be a Beshear-Biden Democrat.”

State Rep. Savannah Maddox took on the other three major GOP candidates on hand.

“Looking at the stage, it’s clear to me that one of these things is not like the other. No, I’m not pointing out that I am the only mom up here who is running for governor and understands what Kentucky’s families are going through. Look at these guys. They’re like the opposite of the Dos Equis beer guy. They’re the least interesting men in politics.”

Other speakers who are not running for governor in 2023 included Treasurer Allison Ball, who is term-limited, so will seek the office of state auditor next year and Secretary of State Michael Adams, who will run for re-election to that office.

Missing from the political speaking Saturday was Kentucky’s most powerful Republican, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. He missed the event because of Senate duties. He said in a Senate speech Saturday that the federal government will play a huge role in helping the flood-ravaged Appalachian region.

He also promised to see for himself the damage caused by the flash floods.

“Soon I’ll visit the region myself to meet with flood victims and listen to their concerns,” McConnell said. “Then I’ll take what I hear from my constituents back to Washington and ensure we stand by their side as we rebuild bigger and better than before.”

Related Posts

Leave a Comment