“Republicans are willing to spend whatever it takes to win.” That is the latest headline in a fundraising email from Gov. Andy Beshear’s re-election campaign to their supporters.
Beshear’s team is pointing to one Republican in particular who could dump money into a gubernatorial election and asking his supporters to dig deep in an effort to hold off Republican advances.
“Two Republican opponents have already announced their campaigns against Andy, and a wealthy, self-funded challenger may jump in the race soon,” the Andy Beshear for Kentucky email reads. “Our Republican opponents think they have what it takes to defeat Andy and undo the progress we’ve made for Kentuckians – and they’ll spend whatever it takes to win.”
Without mentioning her name, Beshear’s team is referencing former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft, who is married to billionaire coal executive Joe Craft. Craft recently talked with a Lexington TV station where she shared she is “leaning heavily” towards running for the 2023 GOP gubernatorial nomination. Kentucky Fried Politics was the first to report that the Crafts’ are planning on spending big hiring Jeff Roe, the founder of Axiom Strategies, who was the strategist behind Glenn Younkin’s 2021 gubernatorial win in Virginia, according to sources.
Beshear’s campaign currently has $1.26 million in their campaign war chest after one-quarter of fundraising, according to records with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
Craft is rumored to be planning to spend a record $10 million on a campaign, but her money has not bought her the GOP primary field, in fact, more candidates continue to pop up. Auditor Mike Harmon and Northern Kentucky former lawyer Eric Deters have already declared for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Sen. Ralph Alvarado is considering the race. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is expected to announce this year. State Rep. Savannah Maddox, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck, Sen. Max Wise, and former Gov. Matt Bevin are also weighing the options for a gubernatorial run in the GOP primary next year.