Governor going to Israel, not Fancy Farm

Published 3:49 pm Monday, July 25, 2022


The Center Square

While many Kentucky politicians and candidates will make their way to Western Kentucky in a couple of weeks to Fancy Farm, Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday he will miss the annual picnic that’s long been viewed as the start of the state’s fall political campaign season.

Gov. Andy Beshear is skipping the Fancy Farm event this year. File photo

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In a statement on his personal Twitter account, Beshear cited a religious trip as why he would not be at St. Jerome Catholic Church on Aug. 6.

“Britainy and I are visiting the Holy Land in August, giving us the amazing opportunity to deepen our faith and to learn more about Israel, one of our nation’s greatest allies,” Beshear tweeted, referencing his wife. “Because of this trip, we are unable to attend Fancy Farm.”

The statement came one day after he was asked during his weekly press briefing if he would attend. He said he did not have an answer to the question but would announce “soon.”

The picnic held on the first Saturday of August typically draws thousands to the small town of roughly 500 in Graves County. Along with the barbecue, the highlight of the daylong event is the stump speeches given by politicians and candidates, and most try to get as many one-liners in as they can before the raucous crowd.

While several candidates for 2022 races are expected to speak, a lot of attention will be paid to Republicans running for the gubernatorial nomination in next spring’s primary election.

According to Kentucky Today, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Auditor Mike Harmon, state Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, and Agricultural Commissioner Ryan Quarles are the GOP gubernatorial candidates who have confirmed they will attend.

Kentucky’s two Republican U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul are pending because of the current congressional schedule. Former state Rep. Charles Booker, the Louisville Democrat challenging Paul in November, has confirmed he will speak.

Beshear also missed last year’s picnic, with a spokesperson a year ago citing the governor wanting to be with his family and make up for time lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason.

The last time he appeared at the event was in 2019, when he served as the attorney general and the Democratic gubernatorial nominee against then-Gov. Matt Bevin, who he defeated in the general election that fall.