NewsLEX 18 In-Depth


Why KY Democrats won't support one of their Democratic nominees for Congress

Geoff Young
Posted at 7:00 PM, Oct 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-28 19:32:36-04

(LEX 18) — A few years ago, the race for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District was competitive. The incumbent, Republican Andy Barr, beat his Democratic opponent, Amy McGrath, by a little less than 10,000 votes. The race received national attention and both political parties were heavily involved.

Fast forward to today and the situation is different. Kentucky Democrats have made it clear they will not support the Democratic candidate on the ballot.

Who's the candidate? Geoff Young.

He's a constant and controversial candidate in Kentucky's elections. Young holds views that are considered out of step with the Democratic Party. For example, he advocates for abolishing the CIA and has repeated an unfounded and debunked claim that the Ukrainian government and military are controlled by Nazis. His stances on Ukraine have been denounced by Republicans and Democrats.

Young has also run for several offices as a member of several parties. In 2020, he ran for the 6th Congressional District spot as a Republican. He did not come close in that primary as Andy Barr won more than 90% of the vote. He has never gotten particularly close to winning a nomination from any political party.

But that changed in May of 2022. Young received 25,722 votes and beat his opponent, Chris Preece, who received 24,007 votes.

Kentucky democrats immediately made it clear they would not support Young as the democratic candidate.

During a campaign appearance with State Senator Morgan McGarvey, who is the Democratic nominee for the 3rd Congressional District, Governor Andy Beshear said Young "needs help."

"And [this race] is not going to help him," Beshear said. "He's also the only person who's yelled something nasty at me while I was standing with my son somewhere."

"The party cannot actively support a candidate that engages in countless frivolous lawsuits against the party, its officers, and virtually every elected official over the past decade," a spokesperson for the Kentucky Democratic Party added in May.

Young tells LEX 18 News that he does not regret what he said about Beshear, nor does he regret his many lawsuits.

"Both parties are 100% corrupt - I'm not talking about voters, I'm talking about the party leadership," said Young.

Some of Young's policy stances align with those of a progressive Democrat. He wants to get big money out of politics, pass Medicare for All, tax the rich, legalize marijuana, and he supports abortion rights. However, he primarily focuses his campaign on his foreign policy views, which have been heavily criticized.

"I'm running primarily to stop - try to stop - our government from starting World War III," Young said.

Young criticizes the United States for its role in helping Ukraine fight against the Russian invasion. However, Young does not see Russia's role as the aggressor.

"We are the aggressors in Ukraine ever since 2014," said Young. "The Ukrainian government is a puppet government totally under the control of the State Department, the CIA, the Pentagon, and groups of heavily armed Ukrainian Nazis, and they have been murderously attacking ethnic Russians, Russian-speaking civilians in Ukraine."

Young also uses similar language to Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling Russia's invasion a "military operation."

"I believe that the Russian military operation is legal and justified," added Young.

Rep. Barr believes those views must be denounced.

"Every American should denounce those anti-American, extreme views, and no one should legitimize those views because they're totally contrary to the facts," said Barr. "I'll tell you - I've met some of the freedom fighters of the Ukrainian resistance, they are far from advocates of nazism or authoritarianism. In contrast, they are fighting for freedom."

"The fight of the Ukrainians is the fight of the civilized world against barbarism, authoritarianism, and unprovoked aggression," added Barr.

On Twitter, Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman, Colmon Elridge, has called Young's views "batshit crazy."

After Young tweeted praise for Russia and China's leaders, Elridge clarified that "this is not [and] will never be the position of the Democratic Party or any serious candidate."

"History has shown this failed candidate will sue everyone [and] run again. The suing [and] running parts are inevitable," he added. "The party nominee part will not repeat itself."

"That Geoff repeatedly praises totalitarian leaders who have a history of brutality, including the invasion of a sovereign country, is not what this party is about, but proves male fragility is a thing [and] that those looking for anti-heroes find them in the absolute wrong places," Elridge said in another tweet.

Young tells LEX 18 News that he believes the Kentucky Democratic Party chairman won't support his views because of propaganda from Western media.

"Colmon Elridge has simply bought into that. He hears it every day. He probably listens to mainstream media and reads it," said Young. "I have other sources that are accurate."

Young admits he would like to have the party's support but since he does not, he is focused on bringing his case directly to the voters.

"I'm talking to regular people who want to live, and they don't want to see a nuclear war," said Young.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Elridge tells Democratic voters that they "still have a choice this election."

"Writing in @randycravens is a clear imperative," tweeted Elridge. "Randy is a good guy, works hard, and believes in values shared by Democrats and common-sense Republicans alike."

The Democratic Party says they are "supporting candidates who share our values and lift up our party instead of furthering conspiracy theories, suing the party countless times, taking resources away from other candidates and who spend more time praising our leaders and democracy rather than idolizing dictators.”

Randy Cravens, an airlines information technology worker from Richmond, tells LEX 18 News that he jumped into the race as a write-in candidate after feeling like there was no other option.

"I took a look at the candidates that were in the field, Andy Barr and Geoff Young, and I decided that there really wasn't one that met the needs of my family and my beliefs," said Cravens.

He describes himself as a moderate democrat who is running on humanity and decency.

"I really think the people of the 6th congressional district are sick and tired of ideology, and they want to see a little more humanity brought back into the races," said Cravens. "And that's what I'm here for - to be a champion of humanity and decency in opposition to those who are on the ballot that would seek to divide us."

Cravens is not the only write-in candidate in the 6th Congressional race. Maxwell Froedge is listed as one as well. However, Cravens' campaign has built more of a following leading into the election.