Fancy Farm showdown could be hot event of summer

Those who like their politics as hot as their barbecue won't be disappointed at this year's Fancy Farm Picnic at St. Jerome Catholic Church in far southwestern Kentucky.

After a two-year hiatus, Gov. Matt Bevin said Thursday that he will speak at the annual political rally -- the traditional beginning of campaign season in the Bluegrass State. Not long after the governor confirmed his appearance, Democratic gubernatorial challenger and nemesis Attorney General Andy Beshear, who has spoken at the last two picnics, took to social media to spread the word that he would "see him there."

The two, who have tangoed many times in recent years, will be the main attraction at the picnic, which hosts 10,000-14,000 visitors each year in the tiny town with a population of less than 500.

In the past, Bevin has said Fancy Farm was an "incredible piece of American history" only to turn around two years later to claim it celebrated "the very worst elements of the political process," adding the event had "turned in a way that's not good for Kentucky."

It should be interesting to see what kind of reception the Republican governor, who only received 52% of the vote in the GOP primary, will get from a crowd known for its heckling.

But it also appears Bevin has bigger fish to fry before the Aug. 3 Fancy Farm Picnic.

According to the latest campaign-finance report released Thursday, he personally loaned $2 million to his reelection bid in the weeks leading up to the May primary. In fact, of the $2.4 million he reported raising in recent weeks, the majority came from his own bank account. Contributions from others tally just more than $1.4 million since January.

That's not a good sign for the incumbent, who has had a rocky campaign almost from the start, when he dropped Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton on the Republican ticket in favor of state Sen. Ralph Alvarado as his 2019 running mate.

Much like the blistering Kentucky sun, the gubernatorial race is heating up -- and might just come to a boil at Fancy Farm in early August.

-- The State Journal