In Preview Of Fall Campaign, Ky. Politicians Pulled No Punches At Fancy Farm Monday, Aug 5 2019 

Last weekend’s Fancy Farm political speaking event signaled the beginning of the fall campaign season in Kentucky, which is shaping up to be to be a knock-down, drag out fight.

Democrats dog-piled on Gov. Matt Bevin. Bevin is struggling with low approval ratings while running for reelection. Hecklers shouted “Moscow Mitch” during the entirety of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s speech.

Meanwhile, Republicans accused their opponents of being “socialists” and focused on issues like immigration and abortion.

Halfway through Bevin’s speech, he brought out a blown-up copy of an invitation to a fundraising event for Democratic opponent Andy Beshear that was hosted by the owner of Kentucky’s only abortion provider.

“Are you on the side of life? Or are you on the side of those who would take lives and profit from the blood money associated with it?” Bevin said.

Bevin is trying to become the first two-term Republican governor in Kentucky history, but he has the lowest approval rating of any governor in the country after a series of inflammatory comments about teachers and other gaffes.

Bevin has also been clinging to Donald Trump’s popularity in Kentucky, and has appropriated the president’s signature policy — immigration.

“Are you on the side of sanctuary cities? Or are you on the side of protecting the rule of law and securing our borders? Which side are you on?” Bevin said.

The speeches that happen at Fancy Farm are not your average political speeches. It’s less issues and more endurance sport.

For one, politicians have to try and rise above a rowdy crowd yelling at them. And then, it’s a no-holds barred barrage of attacks against their opponents.

Jacqueline Coleman, running mate of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear, called Bevin the “Christian Laettner of Kentucky politics.”

“They’re both privileged private school kids, they’re both infamous for taking cheap shots and they can dish it out, but neither one of them can take it,” Coleman said, referring to the legendary Duke Basketball player who was the bane of UK fans in the early 90s.

Nearly all the Democrats took shots at the top of the top of the ticket. But for the most part, Republicans shied away from talking about Bevin’s reelection, either focusing on their opponents or other issues.

Republican candidate for attorney general Daniel Cameron claimed that his opponent Greg Stumbo would make Kentucky a so-called “sanctuary state,” and criticized Stumbo’s long career in politics.

“Greg Stumbo is like the milk you have in the carton at the back of your refrigerator.” Cameron said. This carton has been spoiling for 30 years, and folks, it smells terrible!”

Bevin skipped the event for the last two years. And that’s where Democratic rival Andy Beshear started his jokes.

“Thank you St. Jerome and thank you Fancy Farm,” Beshear said. “And thank you to the governor for finally showing up. I guess we’ve got to thank the Koch brothers, too, for letting him.”

And then Beshear took a shot at Bevin’s “diss track” that he recently posted on social media while reminding the audience of Bevin’s frayed relationship with his Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton.

“Governor, your staff let you do that and you fired Jenean Hampton’s folks?” Beshear said.

Throughout Fancy Farm, Democratic hecklers shouted “Moscow Mitch,” referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to take up election security bills.

McConnell was one of the few Republican candidates to mention Bevin’s reelection on stage.

And he addressed his Democratic hecklers…by not addressing them.

“I’m going to spend as much time talking about them as Kentuckians will voting for them this November…none,” McConnell said.

Updates From Fancy Farm: Hot Weather, Barbecue And Politics Saturday, Aug 3 2019 

Update: 6:06 p.m.

At this year’s Fancy Farm picnic, Kentucky politicians tried to sandbag their opponents by tying them to national issues.

Republicans warned that Democrats would bring “sanctuary cities” to Kentucky and accused them of being “socialists.”

Meanwhile Democrats accused Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of supporting Russian interests while a crowd of hecklers chanted “Moscow Mitch” repeatedly during the event.

McConnell accused his detractors of wanting to “turn America into a socialist country.”

“Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are never going to let that happen. That’s why I call myself the Grim Reaper,” McConnell said. “I’m killing their socialist agenda. But the first step in fighting those liberal schemes happens right here in Kentucky this year. We need to reelect Gov. Bevin.”

McConnell is running for reelection next year, but the main event of this year’s political contests is Gov. Matt Bevin’s attempt to become the first two-term Republican governor in Kentucky history.

Bevin repeated the old union refrain “which side are you on” to rhetorically ask the audience where they stand on issues.

“Are you on the side of sanctuary cities? Or are you on the side of protecting the rule of law and securing our borders? Which side are you on?” Bevin said.

“Are you on the side of life? Or are you on the side of those who would take lives and profit from the blood money associated with it?”

Attorney General Andy Beshear picked up on Bevin’s recurring metaphor that he’s shoveling manure that has built up in Frankfort.

“While you’re more show pony than work horse, you’ve left us a lot of manure. And the only thing we’re shoveling out of Frankfort this fall is you, right out of town,” Beshear said.

Beshear’s running mate, Jacqueline Coleman, called Bevin the “Christian Laettner of Kentucky politics,” referring to the infamous former Duke basketball player.

“At least Christian Laetenner has a winning record,” Coleman said. “Thanks to Andy Beshear, Matt Bevin hasn’t seen too many of those.”

Bevin’s running mate, state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, accused his opponents of being part of a “dynastic Democratic political machine.”

“I wasn’t born on third base with a silver spoon in my mouth. I wasn’t groomed for this like it was some sort of birthright,” Alvarado said.

Farther down the ballot, Republican candidate for attorney general Daniel Cameron, also accused his opponent of supporting “sanctuary cities.”

“I will never allow Kentucky to be a sanctuary state, Greg Stumbo will. I will uphold our pro-life laws, Greg Stumbo will not. And I will fight the drug crisis with every part of my body and being,” Cameron said.

Stumbo made fun of Cameron’s age, 33.

“The attorney general’s office is always open to children. We love it when they come to see the office. But Daniel, we don’t let children run the thing,” Stumbo said.

Republican Congressman James Comer, who isn’t up for reelection this year, painted Democrats in stark terms.

“If you are not an illegal alien, an able-bodied welfare recipient or a man who wants to use the girl’s bathroom, then the Democrats in Washington aren’t working for you,” Comer said.

Update: 4:15 p.m. 

As promised, a raucous crowd has amassed at the Fancy Farm picnic ahead of speeches by Kentucky’s politicians and candidates for statewide office.

More than an hour before the event began, the crowd divided into two camps and began delivering competing chants. Democrats rallied around their newfound moniker for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, shouting “Moscow Mitch” and waving posters like “Bully All The Time,” a critique of Gov. Matt Bevin’s bombastic style.

Republicans chanted “four more years” in favor of Bevin’s reelection and waved signs, one of which said “Own The Libs.”

At one point, both camps united in chanting “USA.”

The Kentucky Democratic Party sold merchandise featuring the “Moscow Mitch” nickname ahead of the Fancy Farm picnic. Three teachers wore fur hats with the slogan in the 90-plus degree heat.

Christina Trosper, a social studies teacher from Knox County, said she was “dying” in the heat but it was worth the sacrifice.

“My hat is an ode to Mitch McConnell and his apparent love for all things Russia and his hate for Kentucky,” Trosper said. “Mitch McConnell doesn’t seem to care about the miners and their plight and not getting paid.”

Pat Vincent, from Hopkins County, said she hoped Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear would be able to defeat Bevin in this year’s election.

“They’re filling up that stage today with the best qualified candidates we’ve had in a long time. A lot of women on that stage today. And women will make the difference and western Kentucky will carry Andy Beshear through, just like it did primary night,” Vincent said.

Original post:

Republican politicians rallied their supporters Saturday at a breakfast ahead of the Fancy Farm political picnic as they try to build upon their historic control of Kentucky government during this year’s general election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the Graves County audience to reelect Gov. Matt Bevin, making him the first two-term Republican governor in Kentucky history.

“We’ve got them down, let’s finish them off,” McConnell said.

All of Kentucky’s statewide constitutional offices are up for reelection this year. Republicans currently control Kentucky’s offices of governor, lieutenant governor, agriculture commissioner, state auditor and treasurer. Democrats have the offices of attorney general and secretary of state.

Candidates and current officials are gathering Saturday in the rural town of Fancy Farm for an annual speaking event, where politicians give stump speeches in front of a rowdy crowd of hecklers.

This is the first time Bevin will attend the picnic since 2016, his first year in office.

Ahead of the event, Bevin told attendees of the Graves County Republican breakfast to “ignore the insanity,” saying “you don’t need to turn a family picnic into the exact opposite.”

Bevin said Kentucky Democrats are trying to avoid “nationalizing the race,” as he criticized the progressive “Green New Deal” proposal and so-called “sanctuary cities.”

“They’re embarrassed by their national party,” Bevin said. “And they refuse to repudiate them.”

Bevin is running for reelection with a low approval rating. A Morning Consult poll released last month showed him as the most unpopular governor in the country.

His opponent in this year’s race for governor is Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, who has sued Bevin over a variety of executive actions and bills he has signed into law.

Republican candidate for attorney general Daniel Cameron accused Beshear of being “more interested in suing the governor and the General Assembly than fighting for our law enforcement.”

McConnell also addressed criticism he has received for blocking two election security bills in the Senate. Democrats have tagged him with the nickname “Moscow Mitch” as a result and the Kentucky Democratic Party says it sold $200,000 worth of merchandise with the moniker in two days.

“I’m a pretty big target, but I’m a pretty tough guy” McConnell said. “I’ve been shot at by the best. But I’m still here. I’m ready to take them on.”

This story has been updated.