Craft deflects questions about Trump as she files for Ky gov

Jan 4, 2023, 8:39 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2023, 3:00 pm
Kelly Craft, right, greets Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams on Thursday, Jan. 5 , 2023, in...

Kelly Craft, right, greets Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams on Thursday, Jan. 5 , 2023, in Frankfort, Ky., as she files to run for governor of Kentucky. Craft is competing in a crowded GOP primary as Republicans try to unseat Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in this year's election. (AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner)

(AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft shied away from talking about her ex-boss — Donald Trump — and his support for a political rival Thursday as she formally entered the crowded Republican gubernatorial primary in Kentucky.

Craft, a longtime GOP activist who has quickly shown her fundraising prowess, vowed to combat the state’s relentless drug-addiction problems if elected. She expressed support for relaxing Kentucky’s near-total abortion ban to provide exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape and incest, while emphasizing the importance of prenatal and postnatal care. And she accused Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear of taking credit for GOP-led initiatives.

On Thursday, two other Republicans filed for the governor’s race: State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Somerset Mayor Alan Keck. Quarles’ grassroots network was on display, as a crowd of supporters cheered when he submited his candidacy papers.

Quarles focused on economic issues, pointing to the toll of high inflation on family budgets. He pointed to an uptick in the number of Kentuckians utilizing food pantries.

“A lot of people are spinning the economy is really strong right now, but the Kentucky that I know is struggling,” Quarles told reporters at the statehouse.

Beshear points to record-setting economic gains during his tenure in making his case to voters for a second term. Ten GOP candidates so far have entered the governor’s race.

Craft’s resume includes roles as the U.S. ambassador to Canada and later as the U.S. envoy to the United Nations during Trump’s presidency. But when asked Thursday about Trump and his endorsement of fellow Republican Daniel Cameron, the state’s attorney general, Craft promptly shifted attention to her campaign.

“I’m focused on 2023 and this race and meeting as many Kentuckians as I can across this state,” Craft told reporters after filing her papers with the secretary of state’s office. “We are going to run a very robust campaign. We have a solid infrastructure, and this infrastructure is built upon one thing and that is defeating Andy Beshear.”

Trump’s endorsement of Cameron’s gubernatorial bid came before Craft entered the campaign.

Cameron has touted his support from the embattled former president, who remains popular with the party’s base. Cameron has found himself caught in the middle of the feud between Trump and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, the attorney general’s home-state political mentor.

Assessing the coming free-for-all among the GOP gubernatorial candidates, Craft said: “I think right now it’s like a Kentucky basketball game. You walk in the arena — the score is zero to zero.”

Craft delved into abortion rights in a state where voters last November rejected a ballot measure that would have denied abortion rights in the state’s constitution.

A law being challenged before the state’s Supreme Court imposed a near-total abortion ban, with narrow exceptions to save the pregnant person’s life or to prevent disabling injury. The 2019 trigger law took effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned in June by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Craft is anti-abortion rights, though she said she supports adding exceptions for rape and incest victims.

Craft is expected to have the upper hand in fundraising. She set a blistering pace for bringing in and spending cash in late 2022, outraising her Republican rivals while pouring more than $1 million into her campaign.

Craft already has gotten a head start on TV advertising, launching a biographical ad in the final days of the year to make her more familiar to Kentuckians.

She can always tap into her family’s wealth but so far has mostly resisted doing so. Craft spent years cultivating connections within the GOP as she and her husband, coal magnate Joe Craft, donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates.

Keck, after filing his primary candidacy papers Thursday, said he will emphasize the creation of “career-worthy jobs,” public safety, education and policies to support families.

Keck acknowledged his challenge to achieve the same level of name recognition as some of the other GOP candidates. But he said he will bring “a unique level of authenticity” in reaching out to voters and predicted his fundraising will be “robust enough” to be competitive.

“We look forward to the debates, where we get to hear the tough questions asked and I assume the tough questions answered,” Keck told reporters.

The winner of the GOP primary is expected to pose a formidable challenge to Beshear, who has maintained high approval ratings in a state that continues to trend toward Republicans. That’s one reason the hotly contested race will be closely watched nationally, coming the year before the next presidential election.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - The Starbucks logo is seen on a storefront, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston Starbucks repor...
Associated Press

Starbucks misses sales, revenue estimates as China falters

Starbucks reported lower-than-expected sales in its fiscal first quarter, with COVID store shutdowns in China overshadowing stronger results elsewhere.
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Friday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Chiawana 84, Hanford 44 Cle Elum/Roslyn 78, Kittitas 25 Clover Park 75, Washington 53 Crescent 44, Clallam Bay 34 Davis 65, Sunnyside 63 DeSales 81, Sunnyside Christian 67 Eastside Prep 59, University Prep 51 Enumclaw 57, Franklin Pierce 48 Foss 71, Orting 41 Gonzaga Prep 62, Ferris 50 Kelso 67, Evergreen (Vancouver) […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Friday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Anacortes 70, Sedro-Woolley 18 Archbishop Murphy 64, Marysville-Pilchuck 14 Bellevue Christian 37, Annie Wright 31 Black Hills 43, Rochester 33 Cheney 39, North Central 36 Chiawana 65, Hanford 36 Clarkston 72, Pullman 29 Clover Park 51, Washington 18 College Place 52, Kiona-Benton 23 Colton 73, St. John-Endicott/Lacrosse 24 Columbia River 38, Ridgefield […]
22 hours ago
FILE - The American and Chinese flags wave at Genting Snow Park ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, ...
Associated Press

China balloon: Many questions about suspected spy in the sky

WASHINGTON (AP) — What in the world is that thing? A massive white orb sweeping across U.S. airspace has triggered a diplomatic maelstrom and is blowing up on social media. China insists it’s just an errant civilian airship used mainly for meteorological research that went off course due to winds. With only limited “self-steering” capabilities. […]
22 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Cong...
Associated Press

Biden makes progress on ‘unity agenda’ outlined in 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year ago, President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to push top Democratic priorities that were sure to face a battle in the narrowly divided Congress but he also laid out a four-pronged “unity agenda” that would be an easier sell. Biden’s unity goals would be hard […]
22 hours ago
Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison speaks at the Democratic National Committee wint...
Associated Press

Democrats set to shake up start of 2024 presidential primary

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Democrats are poised to reorder their presidential primary schedule beginning next year, replacing Iowa with South Carolina in the leadoff spot as part of a major overhaul meant to empower Black and other minority voters critical to the party’s base of support. The Democratic National Committee has worked for months to revamp […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Craft deflects questions about Trump as she files for Ky gov