Regardless of who the Democratic nominee is after the primary election next Tuesday, I will run, skip and hop to the polls, to vote for them in the fall.
They’re all better than Matt Bevin.
But Democrats still have to pick their nominee — House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, Attorney General Andy Beshear or former State Auditor Adam Edelen. While all share many of the same, core Democratic views, they are three very different candidates.
Rocky Adkins is the prototypical governor of Kentucky… what you would have thought of before Bevin drove his clown car onto the scene. He’s folksy, down-to-earth, speaks plainly and has a Southern drawl that’s easy to listen to.
He espouses traditional Democratic views, such as supporting public education, offering free community college and job training, modernizing the state’s infrastructure, creating jobs that pay fair wages — including a focus on the aerospace industry — and protecting state workers’ pensions. He is for legalizing medical marijuana and growing the hemp industry. He’s for reversing Bevin’s efforts to cut Medicaid. He would like to expand access to voting, including restoring voting rights to former, nonviolent felons, starting automatic voter registration and expanding voting hours.
However, it’s impossible to ignore Adkins’ anti-abortion position. He’s a member of the Pro-Life caucus in the state House and has consistently voted in favor of legislation that would limit women’s reproductive rights and criminalize doctors for delivering care.
Also, I’m not a fan of his front-porch, “yeehawww’” commercial. It feels like pandering of the worst kind, and I believe pandering is what’s been wrong with the Kentucky Democratic Party over the last decade.
But I like Rocky, and I know he’d be better than Bevin.
Andy Beshear needs less introduction to voters, partially because of his dad, former Gov. Steve Beshear, but mostly thanks to his own record. As attorney general, Beshear has spent the last several years defending Kentuckians — and the rule of law — from a lawless Bevin administration.
He, too, checks a lot of Democratic boxes: He supports unions, public education, legalizing medical marijuana, automatic voter registration and restoration of voting rights for nonviolent felons as well as women’s right to choose. He’s for equal pay for women and legalizing sports betting and casino gaming. He also has a comprehensive health care plan that addresses coverage, costs and care,
But his candidacy feels like one we’ve seen before: totally pragmatic, scripted and calculated to not turn off any voters. For instance, his answer to climate change is an “all of the above” approach, including coal. Democrats have been falling down that same mineshaft for decades, instead of speaking truth to coal counties: The coal industry is the Titanic, but here is how we can provide enough lifeboats.
Also, he was a no-show for two major Democratic forums/debates, one put on by Simmons College and the other by the Louisville Metro Democratic Club. It all feeds the feeling that he’s more worried about losing than he is about showing up to make the case for why he should win.
He’s a fine candidate and would be a good governor. I’m worried he would be just the latest Democratic candidate who would be great at the job, but horrible at running for it, which could mean another four years of Bevin.
Adam Edelen is my choice. He’s the only candidate running as an unapologetic Democrat. With Edelen, there will be no need for me to look the other way on an issue and vote just to defeat Bevin — like there would be with Adkins on abortion or Beshear on energy.
On issues, Edelen is everything his two opponents are and more. From a “Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights” to “African American Equity,” Edelen takes a holistic approach… not just checking each box. He’s the most progressive candidate. He’s for decriminalizing marijuana, universal pre-kindergarten, a statewide living wage, creating affordable housing and “Bringing state government to Louisville’s West End.”
Edelen was the only candidate to show up to a “Black Votes Matter” forum. In fact, Edelen shows up everywhere. He’s not afraid of voters or facts — like he will tell you there is no such thing as clean coal.
And nobody can out-Kentucky Edelen, not even Adkins (and definitely not transplant Bevin). Edelen, who was born into a trailer park in Meade County, is Kentucky-proud without the banjos and “yee-haw.” He’s a self-made success if there ever was one, and he should be the next governor of Kentucky.
Any of them will be better than Bevin. •