Andy Beshear — son of former Governor Steve Beshear and the current Attorney General of Kentucky — has formally announced his bid for next year’s gubernatorial election.
According to the Associated Press, Beshear has announced educator and coach Jacqueline Coleman as his running mate, aligning him with the political movement for more investment in public education launched by Kentucky teachers this Spring.
“I will continue to fight for our teachers. They will be respected, the state will keep its promises to them and they will have a seat at the table,” Beshear said in launching his gubernatorial bid.
AG Beshear, who is the first candidate to officially run for governor as incumbent Matt Bevin has not yet announced a formal campaign for re-election, is known for suing against the Bevin administration on multiple occasions. Most recently, a Kentucky judge struck down Gov. Bevin’s cuts to state employee pensions as unconstitutional, chalking up a win for Beshear, who sued to block the cuts from being implemented.
The opioid crisis is likely to be a focus of both Beshear and Bevin’s platforms (should Bevin decide to run for re-election), given its prevalence in Kentucky. Last month, Beshear asked the commonwealth’s pension fund to divest from several manufacturers and distributors of opioid-based painkillers sued by his office, including AmeriSource Bergen, Cardinal Health, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Johnson and Johnson, McKesson Corporation, and Walgreens. A 2014 report from the Bowling Green Daily News found that there were 128 opioid-based painkiller prescriptions for every 100 Kentuckians.
Gov. Bevin won election with more than 52 percent of the vote in 2015, compared to just 43 percent for Democratic challenger Jack Conway. However, Bevin’s popularity in the commonwealth is mixed, with an April 2018 Morning Consult poll showing him with a 43 percent disapproval rating compared to a 41 percent approval rating.
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.