LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – When the battle for Kentucky governor heads into the home stretch, Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear will square off October 15 in a statewide televised debate at the University of Kentucky.
WKYT and its eight Gray Television sister stations serving Kentucky are sponsoring "The Kentucky Debate" along with the University of Kentucky Student Government Association and the League of Women Voters of Kentucky.
"This race is just beginning to heat up. In the coming weeks, we will see all kinds of ads and hear from national figures," said WKYT political editor Bill Bryant who will co-moderate the debate. “This will be a chance to compare the two and their stands on issues in the heat of the final weeks of the campaign.”
In 2015, Kentucky voters elected Bevin to replace Beshear’s father as governor and made the younger Beshear attorney general.
Throughout that campaign, Bevin attacked his predecessor and those attacks continued when he took office as he cut the health insurance marketplace Kynect, the state's version of the Affordable Care Act.
The Republican governor and Democratic attorney general who hopes to replace him are no strangers to each other. They’ve faced off in the courtroom many times, taking opposing sides in state lawsuits and trading verbal jabs; but, the tension is rising further as the two go head-to-head.
Before the October debate, the two men will attend the Fancy Farm picnic set for August 3. The western Kentucky event is the traditional start of the general-election campaign season. The tradition features politicians trading insults on statewide television while enduring heckling from hundreds of partisans.
Bevin, an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump who won Kentucky by a landslide, has made joint appearances with a series of Trump administration officials in the past year and says both the President and Vice President Mike Pence are “committed to coming" to Kentucky in the coming months to campaign on his behalf.
The October 15 debate will take place in the 1,502-seat Singletary Center for the Arts and will air live on WKYT at 7 p.m.