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KY AFL-CIO makes history in endorsement of Beshear

Earliest endorsement ever of a candidate by the union

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(from left) Governor Beshear; Bill Londrigan, president of KY AFL-CIO; and Steve Earle, vice president of United Mine Workers of America International District 12 (photo by Liles Taylor, political coordinator for KY AFL-CIO)

The Kentucky State AFL-CIO made history Wednesday by endorsing Gov. Andy Beshear for a second term.

Never before had the state’s largest labor organization backed a candidate so soon in an election cycle.

“The Kentucky State AFL-CIO is making this historic early endorsement of Gov. Andy Beshear to signify our commitment to re-elect Andy Beshear and demonstrate our resolve to keep Kentuckians safe from the false and harmful policies of our opponents,” said a statement from Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan.

Also in a statement, Beshear said he was greatly honored to be endorsed by the hard-working families of the Kentucky AFL-CIO, adding “after completing the best two-year period of economic development in Kentucky’s history, the commonwealth’s  future has never been brighter. From the Brent Spence Bridge to electric vehicle batteries, we have a chance to create more prosperity for future generations than I ever thought was possible.”

He also said, “We will not be able to build that Kentucky of the future without the men and women of organized labor, and I look forward to working with you for four more years to get the job done.”

Beshear is expected to cruise in the May Democratic primary. Both of his opponents are woefully underfunded and largely unknown to most voters.

A dozen Republicans filed for the GOP primary. But only about four are serious contenders for the nomination: Attorney Gen. Daniel Cameron, former Ambassador Kelly Craft, Auditor Mike Harmon, and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.

Typically, the state AFL-CIO withholds endorsements until after primaries. For example, in 2019, the federation came out for Beshear after he bested veteran State Rep. Rocky Adkins and former State Auditor Adam Edelen. All three candidates had union support.

Adkins, who was House Majority Floor Leader and Minority Leader, is senior advisor to Gov. Beshear.

The state AFL-CIO Executive Board, acting as the state Committee on Political Education (COPE) endorses candidates after receiving recommendations from central labor councils. Beshear’s endorsement, made in Frankfort, was unanimous. Beshear and Adkins came by to thank the COPE committee for its unanimous vote.

In other action, the committee also unanimously endorsed former State Rep. Buddy Wheatley for secretary of state, State Rep. Pamela Stevenson for Attorney General, and Michael Bowman for state treasurer.

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