Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton's tweet
Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton’s tweet about dark forces conspiring against her raised eyebrows Friday morning. | Screenshot via Twitter

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton sent a tweet Friday morning calling for prayers to help her battle unknown “dark forces” that initiated the firing of her deputy chief of staff Adrienne Southworth.

“CALLING PRAYER WARRIORS: Yesterday, person(s) unknown initiated unauthorized personnel action ending employment of my talented, stellar Deputy Chief Adrienne Southworth, against my wishes,” tweeted Hampton. “Pray for me as I battle dark forces.”

Voicemails and emails sent to the officials within the governor’s office and lieutenant governor’s office asking about the firing and tweet were not immediately returned, nor was an inquiry to the Personnel Cabinet.

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton

Hampton, a former Tea Party leader in Bowling Green, was on Gov. Matt Bevin’s successful ticket when he first ran for governor in 2015, but Bevin dumped her from his re-election bid this year by instead choosing state Sen. Ralph Alvarado as his running mate.

Shortly after Bevin announced he would not run with Hampton this year, his administration fired Hampton’s chief of staff Steven Knipper against her wishes, which she unsuccessfully tried to reverse with an executive order of her own.

Following news of that firing, Hampton’s twitter account favorited a tweet that was derogatory toward Bevin, which stated: “I hope Matt Bevin’s car won’t start tomorrow morning and he’s locked out of his house with nowhere to go. Yeah, I said it. #ThankUNext.” Hampton later tweeted that she “UNINTENTIONALLY hearted” that tweet, blaming it on “#FatThumbs.”

Asked about Southworth’s apparent firing, Knipper told Insider Louisville that the culprits will soon be revealed, implying the governor may have been involved.

“The Lt. Governor is an elected Constitutional Officer who believes in the rule of law,” stated Knipper in a text message. “That law applies to all, including the Governor. As this unfolds I am confident we will all see ‘the cowardly dark forces’ the Lt. Gov mentioned today. If her rights are taken away, how much easier are yours?”

Asked if he specifically thought Bevin or his staff ordered the firing, Knipper added, “It’s unfolding and we will all know soon. I will say someone mistook the Lt. Governor’s patience and kindness as weakness. They counted on her being passive … well, they counted wrong.”

This story may be updated.

Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]