Courtesy WLKY

One candidate challenged Gov. Matt Bevin to a trap shooting contest. Another says he’s already beaten Gov. Bevin in court, and he can do it at the polls. And the other says he’s worked with a Republican super-majority already and is the only Democrat who can do so as governor.

Those are just a few of the highlights from a forum that put the top three candidates in the Democratic gubernatorial primary together on stage for the first time this political season.

The forum was hosted by the Rotary Club of Louisville and held at the Frazier History Museum.

Rocky Adkins, the House minority leader, talked about his years of experience in the state Legislature, which he said will be crucial if a Democratic governor expects to accomplish anything while Republicans hold the House and Senate.

“You expect results and you’re tired of the partisanship,” Adkins said. “So if a Democratic governor’s going to break through that, you’re looking at the guy that can make that happen.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear touted his legal battles and victories against the Bevin administration and Republican legislature and described his other initiatives in office.

“We don’t survive another four years of this governor, and I’ve shown you I can beat him,” Beshear said. “But don’t ask me. Ask a family of a child with a pre-existing condition, where their governor’s trying to tear away their health care coverage. Ask a teacher who’s been called names and had their retirement put in a sewer bill that was illegally passed in less than six hours. Ask anybody who’s afraid of losing someone they love to this opioid epidemic.”

Former state auditor Adam Edelen’s idea of a skeet contest drew laughter from the crowd but signals his efforts to cast himself as the most audacious candidate. To bring Kentucky into the 21st century, he argued, Kentucky must embrace renewable energy and bring Wi-fi to every Kentuckian.

“I brought together the largest private landowner in Kentucky, a coal company in Eastern Kentucky, with a renewable energy engineering firm and this year we will break ground on a mountaintop removal site in Eastern Kentucky,” Edelen said. “700 acres will be covered by 600,000 solar panels, a capital investment of $130 million and not a dime of that came out of your pocket.”

Best of all, Edelen said, “We’re going to put a bunch of out-of-work coal miners back to work in an industry of the future.”

The forum came on the same day Insider Louisville published a story showing Edelen gaining ground in an internal Edelen campaign poll. According to an internal memo, his standing grew from seven percent of the vote among respondents in February to 23 percent in April.

But that same poll shows Beshear still has a solid lead, and Beshear’s campaign released their own internal polling results Thursday. Those results give Beshear 44 percent of the vote, with Adkins holding 17 percent and Edelen taking 16 percent.

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