A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Democrats Beshear, Adkins spar over fundraising strategies ahead of Nov. 6 General Election

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Two of Kentucky’s top Democrats are sparring over fundraising priorities one month before the November general election.

After Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear reported to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance he had raised nearly $700,000 in his run for governor next year, House Democratic Floor Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook said Beshear’s fundraising tactics are impacting this November’s campaigns.

“Beshear’s fundraising tactics are hurting every local, state legislative and congressional Democratic candidate across Kentucky and could be the critical difference for many,” Adkins said.

“My strong objection remains the same as it was a month-and-a-half ago, when I called upon Steve and Andy Beshear to stop their fundraising efforts for a political campaign next year and join with me in winning back the Kentucky House and helping all other Democrats on the ballot this year,” Adkins said in a statement.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, left, and House Democratic Floor Leader Rocky Adkins differ on fundraising tactics prior to the November election (Photos from Kentucky Today)

Beshear responded to Adkins’ complaint telling reporters on Saturday that he was committed to House and Senate candidates.

“I have crisscrossed this state supporting House candidates, Senate candidates, local parties. We have worked hard to make sure the resources are there for 2018,” he said. “But what I’m committed to is ensuring that we beat Matt Bevin.”

He would not say if he would dial back fundraising until after November. “We’re going to get out there and make sure that everybody in Kentucky can hear our message of prioritizing public education, creating good jobs, bringing real solutions to this drug epidemic and returning decency.”

Adkins agreed beating Bevin was a top priority. “But, before you get Matt Bevin out of office, you have to control one of the chambers in the Kentucky General Assembly. And if you don’t have 51 votes in the House, the agenda of Matt Bevin continues. The priority ought to be Nov. 6 instead of next year. When we win back the Kentucky House, that is when we start our momentum and our energy to take out Matt Bevin in 2019, and change the agenda, change the debate here in Frankfort.”

Adkins said he’s glad Beshear is campaigning for other Democrats, adding however, “I’m not only showing up at events, I’m raising money for individual members. I’m raising money for the Kentucky House Democratic Caucus.”

Beshear and running mate Jacqueline Coleman, an assistant principal at Nelson County High School, is the only major Democratic slate to file with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, which must be done before fundraising can begin. Another Democratic slate is perennial candidate Geoffrey Young and Joshua French.

Democrats who have expressed an interest in the Governor’s office include Adkins, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, former State Auditor Adam Edelen and State Rep. Attica Scott of Louisville.

Bevin has announced he will seek re-election but hasn’t yet filed with the Registry, nor has he committed to keeping Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton on the ticket. Two GOP slates have sent in their paperwork: Bryan Messenger/Michael Bullock and William Woods/Justin Miller.

Republicans gained control of the House in January 2017 for the first time in nearly a century. Republicans have a 63-37 advantage in the chamber. The GOP also holds the Senate majority, 27-11. All 100 House seats and half of the Senate’s 38 seats are at stake in November.

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