Finn: Vote for the candidate you think can beat Bevin Skip to content

Finn: Vote for the candidate you think can beat Bevin

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If you haven’t read Bill Finn’s plea, read it. If you have, read it again.

“These Democratic candidates for governor are great choices,” he wrote. “Please vote for the one that you think can beat Matt Bevin on Nov. 5.”

A veteran Bluegrass State trade unionist, Bill is state director of the Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council.

“Each of the three main candidates are friends of labor and support us on our labor issues,” Bill said of House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, Attorney Gen. Andy Beshear, and former Auditor Adam Edelen.

Bill’s eyes are on the prize. Tuesday is the first crucial step toward retiring Bevin, one of the most—if not the most—anti-union governors in Bluegrass State history.

We (the AFL-CIO) have interviewed Adkins, Beshear, and Edelen. We have posted stories about them all. Bill is right. They are in our corner on our issues. The AFL-CIO endorsed Adkins many times for the House, Beshear for AG, and Edelen for auditor.

So in March, the state Executive Board, meeting in Frankfort as the COPE Committee (Committee on Political Education), voted “no recommendation” for Adkins, Beshear, Edelen and for Geoff Young, the latter a perennial candidate who rounds out the Democratic field.

The panel also voted “no recommendation” for state Rep. Robert Goforth, one of three Republicans challenging Bevin in the GOP primary. “He has stood up to his party and has looked out for working families,” Bill wrote.

“No recommendation” means that union locals can get behind candidates of their choice as long as those candidates don’t receive a “no endorsement.” Bevin and his two other primary foes, Ike Lawrence and William Woods, got a “no endorsement.”

The COPE Committee will meet Thursday in Frankfort to vote on endorsements for the fall campaign.

Union endorsements for the primary

Here are the endorsements from unions and from union-type organizations through May 19:

Rocky Adkins

Laborers Local 1214 (Paducah), Laborers Local 1392 (Owensboro), Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 248 (Ashland), Laborers’ Local 576 (Louisville), Covington Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 38, IBEW Local 575 (Portsmouth, Ohio, with many members in Kentucky), Laborers Local 1445 (Catlettsburg), Tri-State Building and Construction Trades Council (Ashland), United Steelworkers Local 14581 (Elkhorn City), USW 1865 (Ashland), the United Mine Workers of America, the Boyd County Education Association (Catlettsburg) and Ashland Education Association.

Andy Beshear

Teamsters Local 89 (Louisville), Teamsters Local 783 (Louisville), Teamsters Local 651 (Lexington) Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184 (Paducah), AFSCME Council 962 (Louisville), CWA Local 3372 (Lexington).

Adam Edelen

Jefferson County Teachers Association (Louisville), AFSCME Local 4011 (Louisville), IAFF Local 345 (Louisville) and Louisville Federation of Retired Firefighters.

Who is going to win?

Absent reliable independent polls, it’s hard to say which Democrat will claim the right to take on Bevin.

On the GOP side, Goforth looks like a long shot. But weird things happen, especially in politics, and longshots sometimes finish first.  Ask the jockey who straddled Country House in the Derby.

Anyway, if you’re a Democrat, Bill’s plea is on the money: Please vote for the one that you think can beat Matt Bevin on Nov. 5.”

Adkins says he’s the one. Beshear says it’s him. Edelen says he’s the guy.

Bill wants you to make the call. He’s talking brass-tacks politics; a candidate can have the best ideas in the world, but they’re just talking points if he or she can’t get elected.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes hopes Kentuckians will prove her wrong on Tuesday. Based on hard evidence, she predicts that only about 12.5 percent of registered voters will head to the polls from Jordan to Jenkins.

Grimes, whom unions endorsed for secretary of state and for the U.S. Senate, says the measly number is “not OK.” Even so, it’s not without precedent. Turnouts are often abysmal in general elections for governor, too.

Less than 31 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the governor’s race in November, 2105. A shade under 16 percent elected Bevin. Let that sink in.

So, still think your vote doesn’t matter? Think again. Think hard. And vote Tuesday and Nov. 5 like your job and your union depend on it, because they do.

Bill included sample ballots for both parties: Click here for a Democratic one and here for a Republican one.


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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

Arlington, KY