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July 10, 2018

Ky. Governor Matt Bevin, left, and Atty. General Andy Beshear have been involved in several political brawls since they both won office three years ago.Ky. Governor Matt Bevin, left, and Atty. General Andy Beshear have been involved in several political brawls since they both won office three years ago.

FRANKFORT — Gov. Matt Bevin said on WHAS Radio’s Terry Meiners program last August that “the odds are high” that he would seek re-election in 2019 and that he would love the chance to run against Attorney General Andy Beshear.

“It would be my dream,” Bevin said. “… To me, that would be fantastic. He’s not even competent as an attorney general.”

On Monday, Democrat Beshear announced his candidacy for governor, saying it’s time for new leadership in Frankfort “willing to listen and work with people, not bully them.”

Bevin responded with a tweet saying that a Beshear administration promises corruption.

But the governor has still not said whether he will run for re-election next year. His communications staff did not reply to an email Monday seeking a comment about whether he will enter the race.

Compared to his immediate predecessors, Bevin is very late in announcing his intentions and getting a fundraising machine rolling. But he’s not late compared to the schedule he kept four years ago when he jumped into the governor’s race late.

And several Republicans said Monday they expect Bevin will eventually announce for re-election.

“I expect Gov. Bevin to seek re-election and hope he does," said Scott Jennings, a CNN contributor and partner at RunSwitch Public Relations who writes a column for the Courier Journal’s op-ed page. "Beating an incumbent Republican governor in a red state with unemployment lower than any time since Daniel Boone is going to be hard for a Democratic Party that has apparently made abolishing ICE its top priority.”

Scott Lasley, a political science professor at Western Kentucky University and vice chairman for the Republican Party’s 2nd Congressional District organization, said, “Until he indicates otherwise, you have to assume Bevin will run next year. He holds all the cards, and the rest of us will find out when he plays one. It may be indecision, but I see no strategic reason for him to announce for governor yet.”

Since Bevin suggested last August that he would likely seek re-election, he has weathered some rough political waters.

A pension bill he proposed last fall proved highly unpopular with public employees — and his Republican colleagues in the legislature. He had a bitter split with Republican Rep. Jeff Hoover after Hoover resigned as House speaker after admitting he sent inappropriate text messages to a female House staff member.

And when the governor made derogatory remarks about teachers who had protested and succeeded in convincing lawmakers to greatly water down the pension bill, he was widely criticized within his own party.

But Jennings and Lasley say they do not see any viable Republican who is likely to challenge Bevin in a primary.

“It’s not out of the question, but I would be surprised if a first tier Republican comes forward” to challenge Bevin, Lasley said.

Some Republicans have suggested that one challenger from within the party could be U.S. Rep. James Comer, of Tompkinsville. Bevin won the Republican nomination for governor in 2015 in a three-way race, edging second-place finisher Comer by a mere 83 votes.

But Michael Gossum, communications director for Comer’s office, said in a statement released Monday, “Congressman Comer is honored to represent the people of the First District in Washington. He currently has no plans to seek the Office of Governor.”

Bevin’s delayed announcement of his political intentions contrasts with his immediate predecessors.

The first official expression of intent by a candidate to run for governor is the filing of paperwork with state campaign finance regulators, which allows the candidate to begin raising money.

But by this point Democrat Steve Beshear, following his election in 2007, and Republican Ernie Fletcher, following his election in 2003, had been raising re-election money for about 10 months. 

Bevin may not need the early fundraising start that Steve Beshear and Fletcher sought. That’s because he largely paid for his 2015 campaign with more than $4 million of his own money, and he may be capable of largely paying for a re-election campaign.

“He self-funded his 2015 race, so you presume he has the ability to do that again," Lasley said. "And whenever he gets into the race, as the incumbent governor he’ll have the ability to raise a lot of money.” 

State Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Louisville, said: “Gov. Bevin keeps his own counsel, and I have no firsthand information about what he’ll do. But I believe he will run for re-election. I think he’s done a lot of good, but he realizes that it takes a long time to make change in government, and I suspect he wants to do more.”


By Tom Loftus
Louisville Courier Journal

 

 

Comments  

+2 #6 Bluto 2018-07-16 05:01
Bevin cut Vision so that we can't see how badly he has messed things up.
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+4 #5 Voter 2018-07-13 16:07
This guy is an embarrassment to the State of Kentucky.
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+5 #4 Maga 2018-07-13 13:50
Bevin would be delirious to think he could win the election after his verbal onslaught against teachers in Ky. He single handedly isolated a very very large group of votors whose numbers are more than enough to sway an election in either direction especially when you take into account the number of teachers family and friends who support them. Your time is up Bevin, and there's nobody to blame but the man you see in the mirror.
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+7 #3 Republican 2018-07-12 02:37
Time for Bevin to go.
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+8 #2 me too 2018-07-11 16:48
Nothing feels right about Bevin. He acts too much like Trump, low class and arrogant. Ky deserves better.
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+7 #1 Lol 2018-07-11 03:29
Don’t embarrass yourself Bevin
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