Gov. Andy Beshear drew a big, boisterous crowd for his Paducah fundraiser Friday evening at Walker Hall Events Center, a stone’s throw from the Ohio River.
Not surprisingly, almost everybody who showed up was a Democrat, many of them longtime party activists. But the gathering included some local Republicans, including a McCracken County commissioner. (Paducah is the county seat.)
“Yes, I’m running as a proud Democrat, but the moment we win, we take those hats off, and we serve every single Kentuckian,” the governor said in his impromptu stump speech, which was frequently interrupted by loud cheering and applause. “It’s a recognition that a good job isn’t Democrat or Republican. A new bridge isn’t red or blue.”
Beshear, a political moderate, promised “whether you are a Democrat, Republican, independent or other, there is a place for you on this campaign and in this administration.”
Accompanying Beshear were Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman and a trio of Democratic hopefuls: Michael Bowman, who is running for state treasurer; Sierra Enlow, who wants to be agriculture commissioner; and Col. Pam Stevenson, who aims to succeed Attorney Gen. Daniel Cameron, Beshear’s MAGA Republican opponent.
The crowd also included several area labor union officers. The Kentucky State AFL-CIO unanimously endorsed Beshear and the rest of the Democratic ticket.
Helping swell the throng, too, were Frankfort-based Kentucky Education Association President Eddie Campbell and several KEA member teachers, most of them in bright red shirts.
The governor said the Democratic ticket is “not Team Red or Team Blue, this is one team Kentucky. But that’s not what you’re hearing from the other side, is it? That’s not what they’re putting on TV, is it? What you’re seeing is fear and anger, even urging Kentuckians to violate our faith and values to break that Golden Rule – trying to get one Kentuckian to hate another.”
Cameron, who often touts his Donald Trump endorsement, seldom misses a chance to demonize the Democrats, especially Beshear.
“We can send the rest of the country a message that anger politics is a losing campaign strategy,” the governor proposed. “And the way we do that is a big win on Tuesday, Nov. 7.”
A footnote: the fundraiser included the typical catered meal and Beshear-for-governor signs handed out to the crowd for waving during the governor’s remarks. But also featured were little round red, white and blue stickers — with union labels — that said “I WILL VOTE.” Attendees who already had cast ballots were given a sticker on which “WILL” had been marked out and replaced with “ALREADY” and a “D” had been added to “VOTE.”