Bad Blood in the Bluegrass State

Posted: Oct 05, 2016 3:20 PM

It makes sense that two statewide office holders belonging to different parties would disagree. The back-and-forth between a governor and an attorney general is political normalcy as old as American government itself. However, the feud brewing between Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) and Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) is reaching a new kind of ugly.

Matt Bevin, the third Republican Governor of Kentucky since World War II, won his race in 2015 on the promise of rolling back his predecessor’s legacy and liberal agenda. He’s so far done a promising job at that. Governor Bevin has worked to shut down Kynect - the state’s government-run healthcare exchange. He’s also called for an investigation into the previous governor’s administration for shaking down state employees for campaign donations.

This has gotten under the skin of the current attorney general, Andy Beshear. Most could understand why – he’s the son of former governor Steve Beshear.

With every action Governor Bevin has taken, Beshear has fought him at almost every corner. The attorney general has sued Bevin three times in just the past ten months. Bear in mind – both Bevin and Beshear have only been at their jobs since the beginning of 2016 (Kentucky holds off year elections). The two statewide office holders have been at it since the very beginning.

Beshear successfully sued Bevin when the governor tried to cut higher education spending and when he attempted to appoint a whole new board of trustees for the University of Louisville. Most political experts in Kentucky say the lawsuits won’t be ending any time soon.

Their squabbles have not been confined to just the courtroom. The two men have publicly traded barbs since being elected. Governor Bevin has ridiculed the antics of Beshear and even sent a text to him saying “your office is becoming an increasing embarrassment to the Commonwealth.” This, of course, prompted the attorney general to immediately publicize the personal text.

Kentucky is a red state, but it has a penchant for electing Democrats at the statewide level. Some are wondering if this growing feud will blossom into a gubernatorial challenge by Beshear. This could certainly be the case if Bevin doesn’t change his lackluster approval numbers.