Attorney General Andy Beshear wants to run for governor next year. His greatest threat to securing the Democratic nomination is Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who also is considering a run.
So, right or wrong, when Beshear appointed an independent counsel to investigate Grimes, many Kentuckians saw it as a blatant political maneuver intended to weaken his chief opponent.
Only Beshear can know his true motivations, but, at a time when we’re seeing so many overly ambitious politicians stooping to the lowest lows to try to win election, this move doesn’t pass the smell test.
Beshear named Garrard County Attorney Mark Metcalf, a Republican, to conduct the investigation.
“As we discussed, the office of attorney general has not reached any conclusions on any matter in this investigation, and your appointment should in no way suggest there are or are not actionable allegations,” Beshear told Metcalf in a letter.
Grimes, who is expecting a baby and doesn’t need the stress of a political witch hunt, offered a tempered response.
“People are fearful of what might come their way come 2019 and are seeking to do harm this year,” she said.
State Board of Elections Executive Director Jared Dearing had made public accusations against Grimes, Kentucky’s top election official, including that she had improperly accessed a list of registered voters for hiring purposes. In a meeting to consider Dearing’s accusations, bi-partisan members of the State Board of Elections upheld Grimes’ right to access voter rolls.
Grimes said she has hired more Republicans than Democrats in her administration. “So, if I was using political party affiliation, I haven’t been doing that effectively,” she said.
Grimes hasn’t said she will run for governor next year. Neither has she ruled it out, telling reporters that she has a bigger priority right now:
“That is my husband and I welcoming, hopefully, a healthy baby boy,” she said. “Most importantly, adding another title to my name, one I never thought that I’d get to share with Kentucky. That’s being a momma.”