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Kentucky politicians, other GOP candidates react to Kelly Craft joining governor's race

2022-09-07 16_32_10-Window.png
Posted at 6:00 PM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 18:41:25-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — After a long time of speculation, Kelly Craft, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, jumped into the race for governor of Kentucky on Wednesday. And it did not take long for reaction to come in.

In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, Kentucky Democratic Party implied Craft is a “bored billionaire.” Craft is married to coal magnate Joe Craft. Democratic Party Chairman Colmon Elridge called Craft a “Matt Bevin crony.”

“Kelly Craft bought the only public offices she's ever had — then didn’t show up for work. Now, even though she lists her address in Oklahoma, Matt Bevin's biggest supporter wants to buy the Kentucky Governor’s office,” said Elridge. “Kentucky is not for sale.”

Governor Andy Beshear took a different approach. He told reporters that the 2023 race is not a priority at the moment.

“I’d say that right now, elections aren’t that important when there are so many people still suffering in the east and rebuilding in the west,” said Beshear. “And when we have an opportunity to be the generations that change everything in terms of new jobs and opportunity for our children — that’s just a whole lot more important to us than any election.”

Beshear pivoted to highlight Kentucky’s economic development success. However, he did say he hopes the next governor’s race can remain respectful.

"Politics have gotten so divisive and so nasty, the things that people will accuse each other of don't fall in line with our faith and our values,” he said.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, a GOP candidate for governor, also chose to stay positive and called Craft a “lifelong friend.”

“I think this is going to be one of those primaries where you have a lot of great people running — many of whom have a different path towards victory,” said Quarles. “So, I look forward to a spirited and friendly primary."

Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is also running for governor, did not mention Craft by name, but his campaign released an ad titled “Only One” a few hours after her announcement.

The ad quickly points out that “only one candidate for governor has been endorsed by President Trump.”

There was speculation that Craft, who worked for Trump as U.S. ambassador to Canada and later, the United Nations, would receive the former president’s endorsement. Rumors circulated after the two were publicly spotted at the Kentucky Derby.

However, Craft did not get the endorsement. Cameron did.

Former northern Kentucky attorney Eric Deters, who is also in the GOP primary for governor, quickly reacted to Craft’s announcement by calling Craft a “country club candidate.”

"She recently released that she's this little farm girl from Glasgow. No, she's not,” said Deters. “She is a social climber."