Confirming one of the worst kept secrets in Kentucky politics, Kelly Craft has named state Sen. Max Wise as her running mate in the GOP gubernatorial primary.
With the move, Craft becomes the first candidate in the field to name a running mate.
The 47-year-old Wise chairs the state Senate Education Committee, and is a former FBI analyst – positioning him to lift on what could be key issues in the race: crime and education.
For months the choice to name Wise has been reverberating from state politicos. That declaration became official in Wise’s hometown of Campbellsville.
Congressman James Comer lauded the choice that he likely had a hand in making, saying “I can not imagine a more exciting Kentucky gubernatorial ticket in 2023.”
The Kentucky Democratic Party saw weakness in the choice to name Wise as her running mate.
“By already picking a running mate, Bevin-backing billionaire Kelly Craft confirmed on Wednesday she does not have the experience to run or serve as governor on her own and that she intends to be Bevin 2.0 by picking an extremist who leads assaults on public education,” Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge said in a statement. “Her new running mate, Max Wise, attacked our educators just this year pushing a bill that would have sent teachers to jail for simply doing their jobs.”
The KDP compares Craft to Bevin in part because Craft, the former United Nations Ambassador under President Trump, is married to billionaire coal magnate Joe Craft. The Crafts will have the ability to self-fund in the race.
Craft, announced her candidacy last week, joining a crowded field for the election that takes place in May of 2023. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is seeking a second term in office.