FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear’s early fundraising in his bid to become Kentucky’s next governor in 2019 is off to a rip-roaring start, but it isn’t sitting well with one of his own party’s leaders.
State Rep. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, said they are essentially taking money from legislative candidates who are on the ballot this November.
Adkins, a potential candidate for governor himself next year, said Beshear’s “fundraising tactics are hurting every local, state legislative and congressional Democratic candidate across Kentucky and could be the critical difference for many.”
Andy Beshear, the son of former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, reported Friday to the state Registry of Election Finance that he has already raised nearly $700,000 for his gubernatorial campaign.
Beshear is the only Democrat so far who has announced his candidacy for next year’s race for governor but several others, including Adkins, have expressed interest.
Adkins has said he is “seriously considering” a run for governor but asked all Democratic candidates for statewide office to stop raising funds until after the Nov. 6 House elections. He said his first goal was for the Democrats to take back the House, and then he’ll make his decision about a run for governor.
“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. “I call on the Beshears to immediately cease all fundraising for a governor’s race, which happens next May, and focus on the next 31 days. This is a team effort, not an individual one.”
Republicans gained control of the House in January 2017 for the first time in nearly a century. Republicans have a 61-37 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.
Adkins, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and former state auditor Adam Edelen are other potential Democratic candidates for governor.
Gov. Matt Bevin said in August that he was seeking another four-year term but hasn’t filled out any paperwork or named a running mate. No other Republican has expressed even an interest in running.
Beshear announced his gubernatorial bid in July with his running mate, Jacqueline Coleman, an assistant principal at Nelson County High School.
The report from the Registry shows the Beshear-Coleman campaigned raised $691,760 and has $578,964 on hand. The total includes a $20,000 loan by Beshear.
“Our fundraising report shows that our message of fully funding public education, respecting our teachers, creating good-paying jobs, restoring decency and addressing the opioid epidemic resonates with Kentuckians from all political parties,” Beshear said in a news release.