PADUCAH, Ky – EXCLUSIVE: Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s attempt to win a second term in this year’s most closely watched race could buck political trends should he come out on top and remain one of the few Democrats in the country to lead a deep-red state.
Fox News Digital spoke with Beshear during a multiday campaign swing across rural Western Kentucky amid his brutal campaign for re-election and asked him how he managed to maintain one of the nation’s highest approval ratings for any governor considering the stark political divide gripping the country.
“Well, every day I try to focus on those concerns of parents that they feel when they put their kids to bed at night. Those concerns that if you don’t address, you don’t get to anything else,” Beshear said.
“Those are things like, do I have a good job? Can I afford to take my parents or kids to a doctor when they’re sick? Do I feel safe in my community? Are my kids getting the best education that they can? Those things aren’t red or blue, Democrat or Republican, they’re just really important for those families,” he said.
POPULAR DEMOCRAT GOVERNOR BREAKS WITH PARTY, SPEAKS OUT AGAINST SEX CHANGE SURGERIES FOR MINORS
Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks with Fox News Digital in Paducah, Kentucky on August 4, 2023. (Fox News)
According to a July Morning Consult poll, Beshear holds a 64% approval rating, which includes a plurality (49%) of Kentucky’s Republican voters.
Beshear also attributed his popularity to investment in Kentucky’s infrastructure, including expanding roadways and access to clean drinking water. “Those are good for everyone. We try to govern in a way where we don’t pull a state to the right or the left, but move it forward for all of our families,” he said.
Polls have shown a tight race between Beshear and Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, with the governor having a slight edge, a surprise to many, given the unpopularity of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as the race being largely viewed as a bellwether for the 2024 elections.
Election analysts have rated the race as either a “tossup,” or “lean Democratic.”
NATIONAL REPUBLICANS WADE INTO 2023’S MOST HEATED RACE, LAUNCH FIRST ATTACKS IN BID TO TAKE DOWN RED-STATE DEM
Kentucky Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Daniel Cameron speaks to supporters in Richmond, Kentucky, on June 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Endorsements in the race have also turned heads. In May, Beshear received the support of a number of Kentucky’s coal industry leaders, and in June, he was endorsed by more than 35 sheriffs and police chiefs from across the state.
Although Cameron holds a weightier portion of the state’s law enforcement endorsements, the Republican focus on rising crime across the country adds emphasis to Beshear’s ability to attract such support, who he told Fox are “looking for leadership.”
“I’ve worked with these groups these last several years, had an open door policy with the [Fraternal Order of Police] and law enforcement. I’ve been there in the toughest of times with them and then celebrated in some of their major accomplishments,” he said.
“The coal sector — we support all energy in Kentucky, and we know how critical it is to Eastern Kentucky especially. That’s why we stepped up and took on the EPA when they recently tried to put out rules that, first, simply wouldn’t work, but second, would harm Kentucky,” he said, referencing his clash with the Biden administration last year over fuel regulations.
DEMOCRATS COME OUT SWINGING WITH TOUGH-ON-CRIME STANCE IN DEEP-RED STATE AS REPUBLICANS PLAY CATCH-UP
A yard sign for Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s re-election campaign outside the Walker Hall Events Center in Paducah, Kentucky on Aug. 4, 2023. (Fox News)
Beshear added that people were tired of things always being either “left or fight, D or R,” and that his policies were “about being a Kentucky first governor and a Republican or a Democrat second.”
When asked about the ongoing congressional investigations into the international business dealings of President Biden and his son Hunter, and whether that could affect the outcome of his re-election run, Beshear insisted the race was not about what happens in Washington, D.C.
“I focus on Kentucky each and every day. And let me tell you, this race isn’t about Washington, D.C. and it’s not about next year. It’s about who Kentuckians think will do the best job as their governor,” he said.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“We’re seeing more investment and more opportunity coming to all of our families than we have ever seen. This is about keeping our win streak going, keeping our team together, staying together as one Kentucky and becoming the economic powerhouse that we’ve always dreamed of being. This race, in the end, is about our state and not anything else,” he added.