Sources: Kelly Craft Plans on Hiring Youngkin Strategist for KY Gubernatorial Race

Former UN Ambassador Kelly Knight Craft and her husband billionaire coal executive Joe Craft are preparing to spend big on campaign talent.

According to sources, Craft is planning on hiring Jeff Roe, the founder of Axiom Strategies, who was the strategist behind Glenn Younkin’s 2021 gubernatorial win in Virginia.

Roe, and his firm Axiom, are credited by the Washington Post as helping Youngkin walk a tight rope between Trump Republicans and suburban moderates who fled the GOP during Trump’s presidency. Roe put together the campaign strategy and the campaign narrative in Virginia, where Youngkin was the first Republican elected as governor in more than a decade. Kristin Davison also consulted on the race for Axiom Strategies, she worked on the day-to-day Virginia campaign in 2021. Davison is working on a state Senate race in Kentucky this year.

Roe will likely be one of many hires for Craft if she enters the primary race. With the Craft’s wealth, they could wait to enter the election.

Last week, Craft sat down with a Lexington TV station where she shared she is “leaning heavily” towards running for the 2023 GOP gubernatorial nomination. Interestingly, Craft told LEX18 that she “will not speak negative about Andy Beshear.”

Craft has gone after Beshear in remarks to Republicans, Kentucky Fried Politics first reported that Craft bashed Beshear’s handling of COVID in 2021 at a pre-Fancy Farm event. She first lauded the governor during the pandemic, and later raised fears over loss of personal freedoms at the event filled with party faithful.

Auditor Mike Harmon and Northern Kentucky former lawyer Eric Deters are the only declared candidates currently in the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Last week, Kentucky Fried Politics first broke the news that state Sen. Ralph Alvarado is considering the race. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Rep. Savannah Maddox, Somerset Mayor Alan KeckSen. Max Wise, and former Gov. Matt Bevin are also weighing the options for a gubernatorial run in the GOP primary next year.