Political tensions heat up at annual Fancy Farm picnic

FANCY FARM, Ky. (WKYT) - Fancy Farm is a town of hundreds that swells to thousands for spicy BBQ and bingo, and some good old-fashioned, political stump speaking.

Photo: WKYT/Phil Pendleton

“There’s good reasons to come here—the BBQ, but the other it’s the only time of the year you’ll see Democrats in western Kentucky,” jabbed the Republican US Senator.

It’s tradition to hear fiery political speeches and often the crowd isn’t so friendly. Democrats stood with their backs to Mitch McConnell during the U.S. Senate Majority Leader's entire five-minute speech.

“Under the Governor’s leadership there are more than 40,000 new jobs,” said McConnell in referring to what’s happened during Governor Matt Bevin’s administration.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin did not attend the picnic as his office said late Friday he would not be there. No reason was given for his absence.

Many teachers and those who say they came to support education did show up. And many sat on traditionally what’s the Democratic side of the audience.

“We were on the front row of the committee meetings in the House and Senate. And we are on the front row of Fancy Farm. If they are going to make changes they are going to have to face us when they do that,” said Denise Finley, a retired teacher from Lexington.

“Well, one of the values I was raised on is showing up. I guess the Governor doesn’t share that value,” Attorney General Andy Beshear told WKYT’s Phil Pendleton.

Beshear remains the only candidate to announce for Governor.

Rep. Rocky Adkins says he’s simply drumming up support for fellow Democrats.

“I will tell you that I’ve got tremendous encouragement to run for Governor from across Kentucky. From that encouragement I’m giving it serious consideration,” said Adkins as he was greeting supporters in the crowd before the afternoon stump speaking.

Alison Grimes is another possible candidate that could face Bevin should he announce a run for re-election.

“It’s hot here folks, people are sweating like a Matt Bevin at a KEA meeting,” Grimes said from the stage.

Auditor Mike Harmon played on Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck...” in “you might be a Democrat running for Governor....

“If your grandfather was Governor and you don’t understand why you haven’t been....you might be a Democrat running for Governor,” said Harmon, a Republican from Danville.

The governor’s race is still months isn’t until next year but there’s strong signs it may already be underway.

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