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Congressional Candidate Calls For Impeachment Following Bevin's 'Bloodshed' Comments

Nancy Jo Kemper

Democratic congressional candidate Nancy Jo Kemper said Tuesday that Republican Gov. Matt Bevin should be impeached on the grounds that calling for innocent lives to be taken is illegal.

Kemper is referring to a speech Bevin made over the weekend at a Family Research Council event in Washington D.C. in which he said that Americans might have to shed blood to protect conservative values if Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is elected president.

“I believe that his call to shed the blood of fellow Americans is unconstitutional and a violation of his sworn oath to uphold the laws of the commonwealth,” Kemper said at a news conference.

Bevin went on to say that if Clinton were elected, “patriots” might have to “pay the price” by shedding their own blood and the blood of “tyrants” to help the nation recover.

Bevin has since clarified that the comments were in reference to the fight against Islamic extremism in the Middle East. In a statement, he said his speech had been misconstrued, adding: “Any intelligent person will easily understand the message I delivered.”

Kemper, a pastor and former executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in the 6th Congressional District, in Lexington. Barr has held the seat since 2013.

When asked about Bevin’s claim that his comments were in reference to foreign threats, Kemper said, “he was very clearly remarking about domestic politics.”

“It’s in the context of discussing our presidential election that he made those remarks. All the political references that he cites are to domestic bloodshed," she said.

Republican Party of Kentucky spokesman Tres Watson said Kemper’s call for impeachment is “nothing more than a desperate act by a desperate candidate who trails badly in the polls.”

Bevin's comments have drawn fire from other Democrats, including Attorney General Andy Beshear.

“It is grossly irresponsible for a public official to suggest or even to condone physical violence or bloodshed based on the potential outcome of an election,” Beshear said in a statement. “Our entire system of government is based on peaceful elections. And being a patriot is not determined by any philosophy, but by service, sacrifice, and commitment to country.”

Lexington Mayor and Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Jim Gray issued a statement Tuesday calling on the governor to "apologize to the people of Kentucky."

"Using religion as a tool of violence and frightening people has no place in politics," Gray said. "Frightened people do dangerous things, and encouraging fear and violence is absolutely wrong. No matter who the president is next January, it's our job to work together to find solutions to better the lives of Kentuckians."

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.