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Paul vs. Gray Headlines This Weekend’s Fancy Farm Picnic

Rob Canning/WKMS

The 136th Fancy Farm Picnic, a fundraiser for St. Jerome Catholic Church, will take place this weekend in Graves County.

The contest between Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Democratic challenger Jim Gray is the most high profile race this year and both candidates will be in attendance, as will former agriculture commissioner James Comer and Hopkinsville Army veteran Sam Gaskins. They’re running for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Ed Whitfield, who is retiring and will not attend Fancy Farm this year.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is also skipping this year’s event, but he is speaking at the Marshall County Democratic Party’s bean supper on Friday night.

“This weekend I’m dividing my time between the political events in west Kentucky and my family,” Beshear said in a statement. “I will be in west Kentucky for Friday’s events. Saturday I will attend my children’s first ever play. After the last two years running for AG, it’s important Fancy to spend the last weekend before school starts with my kids at their play.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ invitation to speak is still pending.

All of the Republicans elected to statewide office last year will take a victory lap at Fancy Farm, led by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will also speak this year. McConnell recently indicated a “great likelihood” he will seek a seventh term in 2020.

Kentucky state Sen. Ralph Alvarado will speak on behalf of Trump’s campaign. Alvarado, a first-term lawmaker from Clark County, previously called for Hispanic voters to support Trump at last month’s Republican National Convention.

Michael W. Wallace will speak on behalf of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. Fancy Farm organizer Mark Wilson says an invitation to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign is still pending, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Conservative columnist Scott Jennings is the emcee of this year’s event. A full list of confirmed speakers is below:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R)
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R)
  • Lexington Mayor and Senate candidate Jim Gray (D)
  • Gov. Matt Bevin (R)
  • Treasurer Allison Ball (R)
  • Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R)
  • Auditor Mike Harmon (R)
  • Candidate for Congress James Comer (R)
  • Candidate for Congress Sam Gaskins (D)
  • Kentucky 1st District State Sen. Stan Humphries (R)
  • Kentucky 2nd District State Rep. Richard Heath (R)
  • Kentucky 2nd District candidate Jesse Wright (D)
  • Kentucky 28th District State Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R)
  • Michael W. Wallace (Surrogate for Libertarian Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign)

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