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Gov. Andy Beshear files to run for reelection

Andy Beshear

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear officially filed to run for reelection on Monday. He’s seeking a second term in the heavily Republican state.

Much of Beshear’s first term has been defined by crisis management, from the pandemic, devastating tornadoes last December in western Kentucky, historic flooding in July in eastern Kentucky to economic turmoil that included high inflation.

Republican politicians in Kentucky have rallied around opposition to Beshear’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The GOP-led Legislature passed several laws limiting the governor’s emergency powers in 2021, and though the governor sued to block the measures, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld them.

At least 12 Republicans have filed to run against Beshear, including high profile candidates like Attorney General Daniel Cameron,Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles,former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft,State Auditor Mike Harmon,state Rep. Savannah Maddox andSomerset Mayor Alan Keck.

Republicans believe they have a good chance of toppling Beshear, pointing to the state’s surge in GOP voter registration and arguing that his last opponent, former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, was uniquely unpopular. Beshear defeated Bevin by only about 5,000 votes.

But public polling suggests Beshear is popular in Kentucky. A recent survey by the Democratic Governors Association showed Beshear’s approval rate at 62% and a Mason-Dixon Poll from earlier this year showed him with 60% approval.

Beshear’s only official opponent in the Democratic Primary so far is Peppy Martin, a former Republican politician who lost to Democratic Gov. Paul Patton in 1999.

Geoff Young, a retired state engineer who was the Democratic nominee for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District last year announced his intent to run for governor on Twitter last month. Young has raised eyebrows for supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Beshear has led all candidates on the fundraising front, with over $4.5 million raised in the latest quarter.

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Divya is Kentucky Public Radio's Capitol Reporter. Email Divya at dkarthikeyan@lpm.org.