FANCY FARM, Ky. — Eight months away from the primary for governor, four of the GOP candidates spoke at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in one of the first chances they got to distinguish themselves from the crowd. 

What You Need To Know

  • The annual Fancy Farm Picnic was held on Saturday

  • Several politicians spoke, including four Republican candidates for governor in 2023

  • Incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear did not attend, citing ongoing flood relief efforts

  • Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Colmon Elridge represented the party

Daniel Cameron touted the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

“It’s no wonder why the Democratic Party attacks me so often: they’ve seen the polls and they know the truth,” he said. “When I’m the nominee, we will finally retire the Beshears from office in 2023.”

Cameron spoke through a crowd that was critical of his handling of the Breonna Taylor investigation, chanting her name throughout the speech.

The Republican speakers mostly kept their harsh words for the man they want to face in November next year, Gov. Andy Beshear.

“Now for some reason, it seems like Gov. Beshear is afraid to come back to Fancy Farm” Mike Harmon said. “I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise because he let fear drive most of his policy positions.”

Both Harmon and Ryan Quarles criticized his handling of COVID-19.

“Let’s not forget that Andy Beshear was the shutdown governor. He shut down our economy. He shut down our mom and pop stores. He killed countless jobs, and kept the big box stores open,” Quarles said. “And worst of all, he sent police to our churches on Easter Sunday to harass Christians.”

Savannah Maddox went after the rest of the GOP field for not criticizing Beshear’s pandemic response sooner. “I was standing up to the tyrant from day one, long before it was popular or politically expedient to do so,” she said.

Beshear didn’t attend Fancy Farm, citing ongoing flood relief efforts in eastern Kentucky. Before the floods, he scheduled a trip to Israel with other governors, but canceled.

Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Colmon Elridge defended Beshear’s record.  “Once again, our governor is showing through his actions how we show up in moments of devastation and embrace our fellow Kentuckian,” he said. “Not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Kentuckians.”

And he said he’s confident Beshear will win, calling the rest of the GOP field “Gilligan’s Island.”