2019 election

J. Tyler Franklin

A judge has ruled that Gov. Matt Bevin had the authority to fire two staffers who worked for Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton earlier this year.

Hampton sued to try and reverse Bevin’s move earlier this year, arguing that she is an independent constitutional officer who has sole authority to hire and fire her own staff.

But Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd disagreed in a ruling on Friday, saying that Hampton’s office is subordinate to Bevin’s.


Public Domain

Kentucky’s attorney general is the state’s chief law enforcement officer. The position is in charge of defending the state in court, filing lawsuits on behalf of the state, and investigating and prosecuting potential criminal activity.

Kentucky is currently one of nine states where the governor and attorney general are not from the same party. The divergence has created conflict between the two offices — current Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear has repeatedly sued Gov. Matt Bevin and the Republican-led legislature over executive actions and legislation.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Matt Bevin says that if he’s reelected, he’ll push for changes to the state’s tax code, including a shift from the income tax to a sales tax and raising the state’s gas tax.

Bevin made the comments during the Kentucky Association of Counties’ (KACo) annual conference on Wednesday at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville. He also suggested eliminating the state’s estate and inventory taxes and allowing local governments to raise the sales tax.

Bevin said that the state needs to “stop taxing the job creators and the wealth producers.”


Kentucky Supreme Court Candidates Offer Starkly Different Resumes

Oct 21, 2019
Ryland Barton

Two believers in the conservative judicial philosophy of the late Antonin Scalia are highlighting starkly different resumes while making their case to voters in competing for a seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court.

State Sen. Whitney Westerfield and Judge Christopher Shea Nickell are vying to represent a 24-county western Kentucky district on the state’s highest court. The region’s voters will choose their new justice on Nov. 5, and the winner will serve the remainder of retired Justice Bill Cunningham’s term ending in 2022.

WKU School of Journalism and Broadcasting

As Kentuckians prepare to go to the polls on November 5, an international journalist has a cautionary tale for voters. 

Finnish investigative reporter, Jessikka Aro, was one of the first reporters to expose Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.  During a recent visit to Bowling Green, she encouraged voters to be prepared.

"I would definitely advise people to read the Mueller investigation parts one and two, it really reads easier and more interesting than an average spy novel, but it's actually fact.  And then also if there are some shady, fake profiles and fake news being spread on social media, maybe it might be a good idea to be awake and aware that it might be a malicious actor who is spreading them."

Aro visited Bowling Green recently to receive the WKU School of Media Fleischaker-Greene Award for Courageous International Reporting.


This week in Kentucky politics, candidates for governor and attorney general both participated in televised debates. And a new poll shows Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear tied ahead of next month’s election.

We talk about the race in week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled.


Lisa Autry

The Democrat running to be the next Secretary of State says Kentucky has a problem maintaining accurate voter rolls, and Heather French Henry says a new process is needed to update the database. 

A judge ruled this week that the state Board of Elections must remove 170,000 voters from an inactive list before the election on November 5. 

In a wide-ranging interview with WKU Public Radio, Henry said everyone involved with maintaining the voter database must be more fair and transparent in the future.

Public Domain

Democrat Andy Beshear's push to legalize casino gambling in Kentucky is facing strong resistance from two leading Republican lawmakers, including one who supported the idea previously.

Beshear, who is running for governor, says Kentucky could reap $500 million-plus in yearly revenue by allowing expanded gambling. He wants the money to support public pension systems.

Senate President Robert Stivers and Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said Thursday that the proposal would be "dead on arrival" in the Republican-dominated Senate.


The Republican who is running for Secretary of State in Kentucky has ties to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. Greitens resigned last year amid accusations of campaign impropriety.

Attorney Michael Adams is running against Democrat Heather French Henry, the former commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs, in the election on Nov. 5. The Secretary of State oversees all elections in Kentucky.

Adams serves as a board member as well as the secretary and treasurer of A New Missouri, a dark money nonprofit created by Greitens. Missouri lawmakers alleged the nonprofit was designed to sidestep campaign disclosure laws and that Greitens illegally coordinated with it.

Creative Commons

A new poll shows Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear in a dead heat ahead of next month’s gubernatorial election.

The same polling firm showed Bevin trailing Beshear by eight percentage points last December.

Now, 46 percent of likely voters say they’ll vote for Bevin, 46 percent say they’ll vote for Beshear and 7 percent are undecided.

Bevin leads among men, older and rural voters while Beshear has more support with women, younger voters in metropolitan areas, according to the poll.

J. Tyler Franklin

Eight minutes into the governor’s debate on Tuesday, moderator Shannon Cogan urged the audience at Lexington’s Singletary Center to remain silent. The candidates’ verbal jousts elicited whoops, boos, cheers and rare bits of laughter through the hour-long debate reflecting an audience as clearly divided on policy as the two men on stage.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear found little common ground during the debate on the University of Kentucky campus; that was evident on the hot-button issue of abortion.

Elena Kuhn

Three weeks before Election Day, some public school teachers in Kentucky are pressing voters to make Matt Bevin a one-term governor. 

Several retired educators brought what they call their “Won’t Be Bullied By Bevin” tour to Bowling Green on Tuesday.  The group made stops last week in Henderson and Pikeville.

The tour, spearheaded by the Kentucky Democratic Party, is working to elect Bevin’s Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear, in the Nov. 5 election. 

Ryland Barton

Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders threw her support behind Gov. Matt Bevin’s reelection campaign during an event in Louisville on Monday.

Sanders praised Bevin for his backing of President Donald Trump and said voters need to reelect him to build up “a great base of support ahead as we go into what we know is going to be a very difficult 2020 race for the president.”

“This is the beginning and it starts with all the people right here,” Sanders said.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s candidates for attorney general squared off in their first televised debate Monday night, arguing over each other’s experience and how the office should treat potentially unconstitutional laws passed by the legislature.

Republican candidate Daniel Cameron argued that his connections to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who he used to work for — and President Donald Trump — who has endorsed him — make him the best candidate for the job.


Ryland Barton

Gov. Matt Bevin held a press conference Friday to remind voters that he opposes abortion and has signed several anti-abortion bills into law.

Standing next to a poster that proclaimed him as “America’s most pro-life governor,” Bevin accused reporters of not reporting on the fact that his opponent, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, supports abortion rights.

“The sad reality, if we don’t gather people and put this in your face to this degree, you don’t cover it,” Bevin said.