clearn.png
Friday January 27th, 2023 8:06PM

Trump ambassador Kelly Craft joins Kentucky governor's race

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft launched her long-anticipated campaign for Kentucky governor on Wednesday, saying the state's “best days are ahead of us” as she joined a crowded lineup of Republicans competing to challenge Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear next year.

Craft quickly landed a key endorsement from U.S. Rep. James Comer, who represents a conservative western Kentucky district.

“I’m all in for her,” Comer told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “She has a work ethic that’s second to none. ... And I’m pretty confident that within 30 days she’ll be at the top of the polling. And I feel like she’s got what it takes to close the deal and not just win the primary but become our next governor.”

Craft spent years cultivating connections within the GOP as she and her husband, coal magnate Joe Craft, donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates. That gives her advantages as she transitions from party activist to political candidate — she enters the fray with the ability to tap into her family's wealth to finance her campaign and a resume from Republican Donald Trump's presidency.

But Trump has already endorsed another GOP candidate in the race — Attorney General Daniel Cameron — and Beshear's campaign portrayed Craft as “out-of-touch" with Kentucky's voters while touting the governor's economic stewardship and handling of tornado and flood disasters.

Craft pointed to her Kentucky roots in a campaign announcement that offered broad themes rather than policy positions.

“I’m running for governor because I know our best days are ahead of us," Craft said in a news release. “This movement is for all of us who still believe that we can lead in education, that government doesn’t get a seat at our kitchen table and that our kids should grow up in safe neighborhoods.”

For more than a year, political insiders from both major parties in Kentucky had wondered if, or when, Craft would enter the hotly contested GOP primary for governor. The party votes are in May 2023 and the general election is in November 2023, but some of her GOP rivals have already secured dozens of endorsements.

While Craft is well-known in political circles, she'll need to build name recognition with the Kentucky electorate. She began with an introductory video describing a rural upbringing that led to boardrooms and the United Nations.

“People said I was just some small-town girl, but my dad showed me that it's where I'm from that got me to where I am today,” Craft, a veterinarian’s daughter, said in the video.

Beshear's campaign quickly tried to shape its own narrative, casting Craft as an outsider.

“We welcome Kelly Craft to both Kentucky and to the governor’s race,” Beshear campaign strategist Eric Hyers said in a statement. “She’s an out-of-touch billionaire who ... will likely spend millions and millions of dollars to try to convince Kentuckians she cares about them.”

Hyers said Craft was a leading financial backer for the campaign of Kentucky's last Republican governor, Matt Bevin, who was narrowly ousted by Beshear in 2019.

Another GOP gubernatorial candidate, state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, didn't name Craft in his response to her entry.

“All the candidates in this race are friends of mine and I expect a spirited primary," Quarles said in a statement. “We are focused on building a grassroots, people-first campaign that unites Kentucky.”

Trump first appointed Craft as U.S. ambassador to Canada, where she played a role in facilitating the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, Trump’s long-sought revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The updated trade deal has benefited workers, farmers and businesses in Kentucky and across the country, Craft's campaign release said Wednesday.

In 2019, Trump appointed Craft to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

But her connections with Trump, who easily carried Kentucky in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, were neutralized by the former president's endorsement this year of Cameron’s bid for governor in the Bluegrass State. Cameron's campaign debuted a digital ad Wednesday touting the Trump endorsement.

Other GOP candidates for governor include state Auditor Mike Harmon and state Rep. Savannah Maddox. Maddox has been endorsed by Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, who represents a northern Kentucky district.

Craft was born in Lexington — the state's second-largest city — and was raised on her family's farm near Glasgow in south-central Kentucky.

The Crafts have been major donors in supporting academic initiatives and institutions in the state, and she stressed her commitment to education in her campaign rollout. She pledged to direct “maximum financial resources” to support education, calling it the “most important duty” for government, while cautioning that it “has to be in partnership with parents."

Kentucky has tilted decidedly toward the GOP in recent years, but Beshear has consistently received strong approval ratings from Kentuckians in polls.

The Democratic governor is expected to highlight his management of the state’s economy in asking voters for a second term. Kentucky has posted records for job creation and investments during his term and has recorded its lowest-ever unemployment rates.

Beshear also has won bipartisan praise for his administration's responses to epic natural disasters — tornadoes that tore through western Kentucky last December and historic flooding that swamped parts of eastern Kentucky in late July.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Business, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
UK leader Truss rules out windfall tax for oil companies
British Prime Minister Liz Truss has ruled out a windfall tax on oil companies to pay for her plans to tackle the energy crisis
8:21AM ( 1 minute ago )
EU wants price cap on Russian gas, energy companies to pay
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says European Union countries should set a price cap on Russian natural gas
8:18AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Trump ambassador Kelly Craft joins Kentucky governor's race
Former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft has launched her campaign for Kentucky governor
8:08AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Elected officials, police chiefs on leaked Oath Keepers list
A new report says that the names of hundreds of U.S. law enforcement officers, elected officials and military members appear on the leaked membership rolls of a far-right extremist group that’s accused of playing a key role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol
5:37AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump-backed Diehl to take on Healey in Mass. governor race
A former state representative endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Geoff Diehl, has won the Republican nomination for Massachusetts governor over a businessman, Chris Doughty, who was considered the more moderate candidate in the race
5:16AM ( 3 hours ago )
German parliament honors Gorbachev, who enabled unification
Germany’s parliament has paid tribute to Mikhail Gorbachev by holding a minute of silence for the former Soviet leader who paved the way for German reunification 32 years ago
3:54AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Italy's fractured left taps young feminist to lift campaign
Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni’s is gathering momentum in her push to become Italy’s first female premier
2:34AM ( 5 hours ago )
Polls close as Mass. GOP voters pick nominee for governor
Polls have closed in Massachusetts, where Republicans were weighing which candidate has the best chance of keeping the governor’s office in GOP hands in Tuesday’s primary
8:13PM ( 12 hours ago )
Massachusetts GOP voters size up Trump loyalist for governor
Polls have closed in Massachusetts, where Republicans are weighing which candidate has the best chance of keeping the governor’s office in GOP hands in Tuesday’s primary
8:02PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Elections
Biden visits key swing states as midterm crunch time begins
President Joe Biden is beginning his Labor Day celebrations with a trip to one battleground state, Wisconsin, before making his third trip in less than a week to another, Pennsylvania
2:51PM ( 1 day ago )
What to watch in Massachusetts' primary election
Republicans hoping to hold on to the Massachusetts governor’s office are choosing between a Donald Trump-backed candidate and a moderate businessman in Tuesday’s primary election
12:10AM ( 2 days ago )
Biden visiting 2 swing states as midterm crunch time begins
President Joe Biden is beginning his Labor Day celebrations with a trip to one battleground state, Wisconsin, before making his third trip in less than a week to another, Pennsylvania
12:09AM ( 2 days ago )
General Election News
Kenya's Supreme Court upholds Ruto's narrow presidential win
Kenya’s Supreme Court has unanimously rejected challenges to the official results of the presidential election and upheld Deputy President William Ruto’s win
2:01PM ( 1 day ago )
Kenya's Supreme Court to rule on election challenge
Kenya’s Supreme Court is to rule on challenges to the presidential election in which Deputy President William Ruto was declared the winner by a slim margin
5:56AM ( 2 days ago )
America's secrets: Trump's unprecedented disregard of norms
Donald Trump isn’t the first to face criticism for flouting rules and traditions around the safeguarding of sensitive government records
9:04AM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Putin, Xi to meet in Uzbekistan next week, official says
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet next week at a summit in Uzbekistan, a Russian official said Wednesday
6:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
Putin mocks West, says Russia will press on in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Moscow will continue its military action in Ukraine until reaching its goals and mocked Western attempts to drive Russia into a corner with sanctions
6:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
EXPLAINER: Why is Xi Jinping's Central Asia trip important?
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a visit to the neighboring Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan this month in what would be his first overseas visits since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in late 2019
5:49AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
China sets Oct. 16 opening date for Communist Party congress
China says a key congress of the ruling Communist Party at which leader Xi Jinping is expected to be granted a third five-year term will open on Oct. 16
8:06AM ( 1 week ago )
Facebook parent settles suit in Cambridge Analytica scandal
Facebook’s corporate parent has reached a tentative settlement in a lawsuit alleging the world’s largest social network service allowed millions of its users’ personal information to be fed to Cambridge Analytica, a firm that supported Donald Trump’s victorious presidential campaign in 2016
12:05PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump’s long shadow keeps 2024 hopefuls from Iowa State Fair
Potential White House hopefuls from both parties often swing by Iowa’s legendary state fair during a midterm election year
8:38AM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Swedish leader tackles crime, energy fears on campaign trail
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is on the campaign trail a week before the national election
11:45AM ( 2 days ago )
GOP candidates mask rigid abortion stances after Roe ruling
Strict, anti-abortion Republicans running in competitive House, Senate and governor’s races in key battleground states are trying to distance themselves from their past statements and positions
5:43PM ( 5 days ago )
GOP candidates soften tone on abortion for midterm election
Strict, anti-abortion Republicans running in competitive House, Senate and governor’s races in key battleground states are trying to distance themselves from their past statements and positions
3:20PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Asian shares decline on Wall Street losses, rate worries
Asian shares are mostly lower, as pessimism prevailed about higher interest rates ahead and Wall Street continued a slump
3:05AM ( 5 hours ago )
China's export growth sinks in August, imports shrink
China’s export growth weakened in August and imports shrank as high energy prices, inflation and anti-virus restrictions weighed on global and Chinese consumer demand
2:15AM ( 6 hours ago )
New UK PM Truss vows to tackle energy crisis, ailing economy
Liz Truss has taken over as U.K. prime minister and is immediately facing up to the enormous tasks ahead of her
8:58PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Putin and Xi to meet in Uzbekistan next week, official says
A Russian official says Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to meet next week in Uzbekistan
8:05AM ( 17 minutes ago )
This Old House: Restoration honors Black Atlanta postmaster
A five-bedroom Victorian house south of Georgia’s capitol was in severe disrepair until an Atlanta couple saw its potential
7:38AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Shelling goes on near Ukraine nuclear plant, despite risks
A Ukrainian official says Russian has renewed its shelling in the area of Ukraine’s huge nuclear power plant
7:26AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Target drops mandatory CEO retirement age, Cornell to stay
Target CEO Brian Cornell will stay in his position leading the retailer for about the next three years
7:23AM ( 59 minutes ago )
New UK Cabinet is diverse in makeup and solidly on the right
Liz Truss’s new Cabinet is Britain’s most diverse ever with women serving as prime minister and deputy prime minister and Black and South Asian politicians filling many of the top jobs
7:17AM ( 1 hour ago )