Here’s some background on Kelly Craft from the KDP Skip to content

Here’s some background on Kelly Craft from the KDP

Kelly Craft has just announced her candidacy for governor, and already the KDP has released some of their oppo research on her. Let’s take a look.

2 min read

Every campaign worth its salt does research on their opposition. Really good campaigns do “oppo research” on anyone who MIGHT be their opposition.

Obviously, campaigns will spin what they find to put the worst light on their opponent. Experienced political observers (which surely includes all readers of ForwardKY) know this, and take it into consideration whenever reading content from a campaign about an opponent.

But when you boil away the spin, you wind up with whatever facts are actually there. And those facts can sometimes be the difference in an election.

Here, then, are some background facts on gubernatorial candidate Kelly Craft, courtesy of the KY Democratic Party.

Her 1/2-time ambassadorship to Canada

Craft was named ambassador to Canada in 2017 by President Trump, and served in that role until 2019.

One of the issues surrounding her time as ambassador was the time she spent off post. In fact, Democrats pulled together records on her time in Ottawa and determined that Craft was out of Canada for over half her days as ambassador.

According to the Politico story, “Craft came under fire for her frequent absences from the embassy in Ottawa, after POLITICO obtained Federal Aviation Administration records showing her family plane had made the equivalent of weekly roundtrips to the United States.

“The issue of her absences took on greater significance because Craft, a political appointee with close ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, lacked the extensive diplomatic or political experience typical of a U.N. nominee.”

Later in the same story: “Canadian elected officials have told POLITICO that Craft kept a lower profile than previous ambassadors and often missed diplomatic events because of her extensive travel.”

Her flip-flop on Beshear’s handling of COVID

In a story on KY Fried Politics, Nick Storm notes that Craft praised Beshear’s handling of the pandemic in an interview in 2020 with WKYT.

Then in 2021, she “found the Republican hymnal” and attacked Beshear at a Republican dinner.

The opposition take on her nomination to be U.N. ambassador

In the minority response to Craft’s nomination by Trump to the U.N., there is this paragraph that pretty well sums up their take on Craft and her qualifications:

In May 2019, President Trump nominated Kelly Craft to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, approximately seven months after the resignation of former Ambassador Nikki Haley. Ambassador Craft is not deserving of the Senate’s confirmation for three main reasons: (1) she does not possess the requisite credentials, knowledge, or experience to effectively represent and defend U.S. interests and values at the United Nations; (2) her absenteeism as U.S. Ambassador to Canada demonstrates a failure of leadership, a lack of the understanding of the role of an ambassador vis-à-vis the embassy and host country, and a lack of commitment to government service; and (3) she has failed to demonstrate diligence in avoiding financial conflicts, even involving her husband, the CEO of a major coal company, in official government meetings related to energy matters.

And later, in that same report:

Unlike these predecessors, Ambassador Craft’s main qualification is that she, along with her husband, has been a substantial political donor. ... Craft’s inability to answer basic questions about her ethical obligations is surprising and disturbing. That Ambassador Craft could not clearly articulate her financial interests or recusal obligations does not inspire confidence regarding how seriously she takes the obligation to avoid potential conflicts of interest.


So, there you have it – some of the basic oppo research on Kelly Craft. Of all the things in the list, the fuzziness on ethical issues bothers me the most. What about you?


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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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The Daily Wrap for Thursday, 5/23

The Daily Wrap for Thursday, 5/23

Still some wrap-up from Tuesday’s primary, including late calls of winners and possible recounts. Plus, some breaking news in the tweets below, and a cool story about a possible billboard (or billboards!) in west Kentucky.

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