Eight candidates for political and judicial seats this fall, including Gov. Matt Bevin, seeking a second term in office, and his Democrat challenger, Andy Beshear, are among 10 confirmed speakers for this year’s 139th St. Jerome Catholic Church Picnic at Fancy Farm in August.
Mark Wilson, chairman of the picnic’s political speaking, said with it being a statewide election year, he is anticipating a majority of those running for office to be in attendance for their opportunity to stump before Kentucky voters.
“We anticipate, if not 100% participation from all the candidates, it’ll be pretty close to every one of them,” he said. “We normally get every one of them if it’s an election year. It’s where we expect it to be right now.”
Currently, Republican Secretary of State candidate Mike Adams and incumbent Treasurer Allison Ball are on tap to speak at the Aug. 3 event, as well as Democratic candidate for Auditor Sheri Donahue.
Along with Gov. Bevin, his lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Ralph Alvarado has confirmed he will also speak. Sitting Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton has declined to speak.
Attorney General Beshear was not listed on the confirmation list Wilson sent out last Wednesday. Beshear later tweeted that he would attend with a “See you there” message to Bevin.
Others who have responded they will speak include Republican US. Rep. James Comer, State Sen. Stan Humphries and State Rep. Richard Heath.
Wilson is still waiting on others on his speaker roster, including:
• U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,
• U.S. Sen. Rand Paul,
• Democrat Lieutenant Governor candidate Jacqueline Coleman,
• Attorney General candidates Republican Daniel Cameron and Democrat Greg Stumbo,
• Democratic Secretary of State candidate Heather French Henry,
• Incumbent state Auditor Mike Harmon,
• Democratic Treasurer candidate Michael Bowman, and
• Current Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Democratic challenger Robert Conway.
Also added to the speaking list this year are candidates for the Kentucky Supreme Court District 1 seat, Shea Nickell and Whitney Westerfield.
The big draw, Wilson said, will be the gubernatorial showdown between Bevin and Beshear, who currently is the Kentucky attorney general. He said several national media outlets have expressed interest in covering their Fancy Farm stumping since Kentucky is one of three states in the nation with gubernatorial races this year.
“There are several interesting races on down the list,” Wilson noted.
And with so many statewide races, that will be a sure-fire sign the crowds will flock to Fancy Farm.
“Anytime you have a statewide election cycle, we always anticipate bigger crowds,” he added. “Generally, we can anticipate 10,000 (people) any given year.”