By Chelene Nightingale, Barren County Progress Reporter
Editor’s Note: Due to press deadlines, the following news story has been published only before Election Day as a part of Jobe Publishing’s ongoing governor series coverage. Coverage of the primary election will print the week following Election Day. This news story does not reflect any endorsements or opinions of Jobe Publishing, Inc.
The top three Republican gubernatorial candidates have made or will be making stops for last-minute campaigning in the key agriculture region one more time in hopes to convince Barren County voters to choose them to represent the party in November’s general election. According to the Emerson College Poll, the top three Republican gubernatorial candidates are Attorney General Daniel Cameron, former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft, and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron, leading in the polls, was the first candidate to visit Barren County last Thursday during his “Fight for the Commonwealth Tour” and supporters filled the Barren County Fiscal Court to ask questions after he gave a short speech. He warned Kentuckians that this year was a transformational moment for the state. “Who wins the office of governor in November is what we want for the rest of the decade. Will we choose to protect our children and families with conservative values or will we embolden Democrats to continue with their radical agendas?”
Cameron reminded local residents that “failed Democrat leadership” led to lockdowns, shutdowns, learning loss, an unsecured border, a fentanyl crisis, and forced mask and vaccine mandates. In contrast, Cameron confirmed that Republicans respect small businesses, defend the second amendment and protect the unborn. He emphasized, “We must retire Andy in November so we can protect our faith, families, and community.”
Former Barren County Judge/Executive David Dickerson introduced Cameron at the campaign event and also publicly endorsed him: “Daniel is what Kentucky needs and he has the best chance of beating Beshear in November.” Although Cameron received the honorable endorsement, one Glasgow resident was still concerned about his Mitch McConnell affiliation. Cameron addressed the concern: “I am my own man! When the left was protesting on my lawn, was Mitch there? When I was fighting for the life of the unborn, was Mitch there? When I fought against the lockdowns, was Mitch there? The answer is no.” Daniel continued, “My identity is as a Christ-follower, a husband, and a father. These are the values that will guide me as governor.”
The very next morning, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles made a stop in Park City at Nemesis Arm. Several locals from Barren County and Edmonson County made the early morning journey to greet the governor candidate. The gathering included Edmonson County Judge/Executive Scott Lindsey, Edmonson County Attorney Adam Turner, and Barren County Magistrates Tim Coomer and Marty Kinslow.
The Barren County Progress (BCP) spoke with a positive Quarles who was confident his grassroots campaign would carry him to victory.“I am feeling good! While Kelly and Daniel battle, I have remained the adult in the room.” Ryan’s statement was in reference to the negative attack ads initiated by the Craft campaign, in addition to the sparring during the KET gubernatorial debate last month.
During his appearance at Nemesis Arm, a rifle manufacturing business, Quarles stated as governor, he is committed to standing up for the constitutional rights of Kentuckians. Additionally, he wants to give much-needed attention to the rural areas, which includes building infrastructure and bringing in high-speed internet. However, if he does not win the nomination, he told BCP, “I will support the nominee and help unite the party so we beat Andy Beshear in November.”
Former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft was the last of the top three Republican candidates to visit Barren County. She hosted an ‘Election Eve Rally’ on Monday night at Glasgow High School. Approximately 50 to 60 Barren County residents waited nearly an hour for their hometown girl to arrive.
The rally began with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and an introduction of Kentucky State Senator Max Wise from Judge/Executive Jamie Bewley-Byrd. Senator Wise was joined on stage by his wife Dr. Heather Wood-Wise. Max Wise declared, “There is not a single candidate who has worked harder than Kelly Craft.” He continued, “Does the girl from Glasgow have the grit to be governor? Tomorrow you will find out she has the grit to win and the grit to beat Beshear in November.”
An enthusiastic Joe Craft joined his wife Kelly Craft as they entered the platform. Kelly was all smiles as the small gathering cheered her arrival. The gubernatorial candidate repeated many of the same talking points as previous speeches in Barren County touting her involvement in the historic trade agreement with Mexico, Canada, and the United States under the Trump administration. Additionally, she shared that she enjoyed meeting thousands of Kentuckians during the campaign and listening to their ideas and wishes. “I see a job that needs to get done.”
Will Kelly Craft be the winning candidate to get the job done? On Sunday night, May 14th, Emerson College Polling released a final census before the election. The poll showed Daniel Cameron’s lead had widened over Kelly Craft since their last poll a month ago. However, Cameron, Craft, and Quarles remained the top three contenders with Cameron leading at 33% voter support, Craft at 17.6% and Quarles at 13.2%.