Screenshot of tweeted video in which state Sen. Dan Seum, R-Louisville, announcing his endorsement of Attorney General Andy Beshear
State Sen. Dan Seum, R-Louisville, announcing his endorsement of Attorney General Andy Beshear | Screenshot of tweeted video

Republican state Sen. Dan Seum of Louisville broke ranks with his party Monday morning by announcing that he is endorsing Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear in the race for governor over Republican incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin.

In a video tweeted by Beshear’s campaign, Seum endorsed Beshear and blasted Bevin for insulting teachers around the state.

“Today, I’m here to endorse Andy Beshear for governor,” said Seum. “This is not about partisan politics, it’s about who is going to lead this state in the next four years.”

Seum continued: “Today we have a governor who has failed miserably on the pension issue and spent the last year running around the state insulting everyone, including the four teachers in my family.”

Beshear added in the video that the race for governor “isn’t about right versus left, it’s about right versus wrong. We welcome Sen. Seum’s support and there is room on this team for everyone.”

Seum began his political career in Louisville as a Democrat, only to switch to the Republican Party when he was a state senator in 1999. He did not indicate in the video on Monday that he intends to switch parties again, only that he is supporting the defeat of the Republican incumbent.

In recent years, Seum has become a strong advocate for legalizing marijuana and expanded gambling in Kentucky, two policies that have been blocked by Republicans in the Kentucky General Assembly and are strongly opposed by Bevin.

Bevin has taken heavy criticism over the past two years for his rhetoric toward teachers that have protested pension bills endorsed by the governor, such as his comments blaming teachers protests closing schools one day for the sexual assault of children. Bevin later apologized to the “tremendous number of people did not fully appreciate” those comments, but said last month that “I regret nothing I have said about teachers. Nothing.”

Bevin’s campaign manager David Paine told Insider in a statement that “if Senator Seum wants to support sanctuary cities and abortion up until the moment of birth, that’s his decision to make. Governor Bevin has been endorsed by President Trump, the NRA, and Kentucky Right to Life.”

This story has been updated with Paine’s statement.

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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]