One official, and one TBD. Two congressmen line up behind KY governor candidates.

·3 min read

Members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation made some stateside waves at Fancy Farm, the state’s premier political speech event and unofficial start to campaign.

One was official and another implied.

Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, made official an alliance with one of Kentucky’s top politicians on the Fancy Farm stage: she announced that Congressman Thomas Massie endorsed her run for governor.

That made her the first GOP gubernatorial candidate to score an endorsement from the state’s Washington delegation.

“With the endorsement, I feel as though conservatives are going to rally around this campaign and send us over the top,” Maddox said. “Thomas has the most conservative voting record of any Kentucky congressman. He’s an authentic Republican powerhouse in the Commonwealth and his ability to energize conservative voters, his and Senator Paul’s, are iconic.”

Maddox added that she believed that some of her competition were “go along to get along” moderates, as opposed to her stark brand of conservatism.

While Maddox made her endorsement official, First Congressional District James Comer dropped some breadcrumbs about where his political allegiance lies in 2023.

Comer focused his Fancy Farm speech on the diminishing influence of Democrats in West Kentucky as well as his likely chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee, where he has promised to investigate President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, for his alleged misdeeds.

People gather to eat barbecue, play carnival games and bingo before politicians and candidates delver speeches during the 142nd annual St. Jerome picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 6, 2022.
People gather to eat barbecue, play carnival games and bingo before politicians and candidates delver speeches during the 142nd annual St. Jerome picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 6, 2022.

But Comer, who narrowly lost to former governor Matt Bevin in the 2015 GOP gubernatorial primary, dropped a serious hint about a noteworthy political alliance after the event, saying that he would be “very involved in the governor’s race.”

“I believe there’s a very incredible candidate that I’m pretty close with who’s strongly considering entering the race in September. I’m going to hold out any endorsement until I see who all’s in the field, but I believe that you’re going to see a couple more very strong candidates enter the race,” Comer said.

When asked if that candidate was former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, Comer responded simply: “we’ll see.”

On the potential of Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, joining Craft as a lieutenant governor candidate, Comer was also mum but had high praise for Wise.

“Max is one of my closest political friends. In fact, he and his wife stayed with me and my wife at my cabin this weekend. I introduced Max to Kelly. That’ll be Kelly’s decision if she decides to run.”

Craft’s chief of staff has not responded to an inquiry about Fancy Farm.

Often mentioned as a potential GOP candidate for governor since last year, when she was keynote speaker at a GOP dinner during Fancy Farm weekend, Craft has ties to significant resources through her husband Joe Craft, a billionaire energy magnate from Kentucky. The pair made a major appearance on local television last week, hosting a telethon in support of relief efforts for victims of the Eastern Kentucky floods; they hosted it alongside the Kentucky men’s basketball team, for which Joe Craft is a prominent booster.

Wise did not respond to the validity of rumors about his intentions to run with Craft, but said he was “honored” to be mentioned.

“Kelly Craft will be a very credible candidate in an already crowded Republican primary. I am honored to even be mentioned as a running mate with her,” Wise said.

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Fancy Farm 2022: U.S. Senate, 2023 governor’s race dominate KY’s biggest political event.