FANCY FARM, Ky. On a Republican-controlled afternoon, candidates gave fiery speeches that touched on race, social issues, COVID-19, immigration and the economy in speeches at the start of the annual political fall in western Kentucky.
Republican speakers have repeatedly referred to hot social issues such as COVID-19 policies and the rights of transgender children.
“I think it’s a mistake to allow biological boys to compete with girls in women’s sports,” said Ryan Quarles, the state agriculture commissioner who is running for governor. As he proclaimed “I am a Christian,” I am pro-life and pro-gun. “
Quarles was among four Republicans who ran for governor in 2023 on stage at the event hosted by the Catholic Diocese of St. Jerome at Fancy Farm as part of an annual outing.
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Attorney General Daniel Cameron had to yell at protesters who mock his handling of the investigation into the death of Briona Taylor, a black woman who was shot dead by Louisville Metro Police in a failed 2020 investigation.
“Say her name, Brianna Taylor!” Protesters shouted throughout Cameron’s speech.
Federal authorities on Thursday announced federal civil rights charges against four Louisville police officers in connection with a search warrant used to break into Taylor’s home. Cameron’s investigation resulted in only one officer being charged with shooting at a neighbor’s apartment, and he was acquitted.
Republican speakers have repeatedly ridiculed Democrats’ low turnout, including absentee Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat who for the second year in a row has skipped over what state auditor Mike Harmon, a Republican running for governor, called the “super bowl of politics.”
“The only people I can’t say ‘hello’ to today are our state-elected Democratic officials,” said state treasurer Alison Ball. “Where are you guys? Maybe if we get lucky by next year, there won’t be any Democratic elected officials left by the end of next year.”
Also not present were Kentucky Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, due to Saturday’s Senate vote in Washington.
Bashir had said he planned to miss Fancy Farm on a trip to Israel but canceled it to stay in Kentucky due to recent catastrophic flooding in eastern Kentucky.
The Republicans didn’t have it.
“The governor would literally rather be 6,000 miles away on another continent than at Fancy Farm,” said Secretary of State Michael Adams.
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Republicans also criticized Bashir’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit Kentucky in 2020 and prompted him to issue emergency orders such as halting public gatherings and wearing masks.
“Andy Basher was the custodian of the lockdown,” Quarles said.
One of only two Democratic candidates on stage, Charles Booker, a Democrat running for the US Senate against incumbent Republican candidate Paul, tore Paul to stay in Washington.
“The Kentuckians attend, which is why it should come as no surprise that Rand Paul is nowhere to be seen,” Booker said.
Colmon Eldridge, who was invited as the Democratic Party chair to speak in Bashir’s place, went further in promoting Booker, who is black.
“Imagine you are so afraid of a black man from the West End of Louisville that you don’t show up for the discussion,” Eldridge said.
And Eldridge, also black, was not deterred when his comments drew boos.
“Booooing black man in Kentucky; booing doesn’t scare me,” he said.
But Kelly Paul, Rand Paul’s wife who was invited to speak in his absence, hit back at his defense, citing mostly national and social issues against Democratic candidates, calling them liberals too radical for Kentucky.
“Maybe it’s time Democrats move from the promise of a chicken in every bowl to a drag queen in every school,” she said.
GOP spokesperson after GOP spokesperson reminded boozy crowds that earlier this year Republicans had overtaken Democrats as registered voters, beginning with House Speaker David Osborne.
“For the first time in history, registered Republicans outnumber Democrats,” Osborne said to a roar of enthusiasm.
As usual, a boisterous, harassed, and derisive crowd shrieked throughout the speeches, but it was louder when Cameron came up to speak.
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Cameron had to shout non-stop cheers from “Briona Taylor, say her name!” Throughout his four-minute speech…
Earlier Saturday, Cameron said his office is tasked with investigating possible government charges while the US Department of Justice independently investigates civil rights abuses.
“From the beginning, this has been about our office looking for state abuses,” he said.
Taylor’s family has been outspoken in criticizing Cameron’s handling of the case.
Savannah Maddox, the Republican/Liberal candidate running for governor, was the only one to turn directly on her GOP opponents, calling herself the only “mother” on stage who understood the Kantokians.
“These guys?” She said about Cameron, Quarles and Harmon. “They are the least interesting men in politics.”
Saturday’s political speeches marked 142second abbreviation A year for Saint Jerome’s annual parish picnic in the small town of Fancy Farms in western Kentucky.
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Heckling started early and often, even prompting a few cheers as Owensboro Bishop William Medley opened the event with prayer.
Medley prayed optimistically that “wisdom guides speech.”
“Let charity reign here today,” he said.
The 2022 event comes as western Kentucky is still struggling to rebuild from last year’s devastating hurricanes, and as rescue and recovery operations continue from record floods in eastern Kentucky that killed 37 people.
In his opening remarks, Osborne acknowledged “our hearts are heavy” on the losses. But he said Fancy Farm should continue in the spirit of tradition and support this event.
Supporting groups for various causes surrounded the speakers’ wing, ranging from those seeking to limit congressional terms to both sides in a ballot amendment that would write abortion access out of the Kentucky constitution.
It did not dissuade members of Congress in the United States from attending an annual political event where most candidates would likely oppose term limits.
Aaron Duckett, regional director, said your best bet is to make their case to the public rather than trying to persuade politicians.
“It’s like asking chickens to vote for Colonel Sanders,” Duckett said. “They’ll end up on the list.”
Nearby, supporters and opponents of Constitutional Amendment 2, to ensure that the Kentucky Constitution had no right to abortion, were crowding out shaded places under trees.
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Adia Washner, executive director of the Kentucky Right to Life Foundation, said the political group Yes to Life that supports the measure expects widespread support in western Kentucky.
During three days in the area, ending at Fancy Farm, Wuchner said the people were “very receptive.”
But at a nearby picnic table, members of Protect Kentucky Access, the group opposed to the measure, said they are also getting support from Democrats and Republicans alike in the red-hot area.
Two laws in Kentucky currently under legal challenge allow abortion only to save a patient’s life or prevent disabling injury without exceptions for rape, incest, or serious fetal abnormalities.
“A lot of people from western Kentucky don’t understand that there are no exceptions,” said Tamara Wider of Parenting.
Contact reporter Deborah Yetter at email@example.com or on Twitterd_yetter.
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