Matt Bevin

Howard Wilkinson

Rand Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator, didn’t bring up the subject of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination when he spoke to the Florence Rotary Club Monday, but he had plenty to say about it to reporters afterwards.

Paul, who is mired in the single digits in national polls, took a back-handed swipe at the Republican candidate who is leading most national polls, business mogul Donald Trump – and he did it without mentioning him by name.

  Political campaigns can turn on a dime sometimes.

There was a time, several months ago, after Louisville businessman Matt Bevin barely survived Kentucky’s Republican primary, when it appeared that the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Jack Conway might win the general election fairly easily.

It would, some thought, be like a Kentucky Wildcat slam-dunk at Rupp Arena.

Nobody’s thinking that anymore.

Kentucky's Fancy Farm: Chopped Mutton, Politicians Hurling Insults

Aug 3, 2015
Rob Canning

For some in Western Kentucky, the annual Fancy Farm Picnic is about chopped mutton and pork, bingo and music.

But for the rest of the state it’s that weekend in August when politicians roll up their shirt sleeves and yell into a sea of cheers and boos.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the divisions among Kentucky Republicans; and how gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin can mend fences for the fall campaign. 

Here’s something we never expected to say a year ago, after Louisville businessman Matt Bevin - then the ultimate political party outsider - lost a tea party-fueled challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky’s GOP Senate primary:

Matt Bevin is now the Kentucky Republican Party’s candidate for governor in the November election.

The re-canvass Thursday of last week's votes in Kentucky's Republican gubernatorial race didn't change a thing.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin still led Kentucky agriculture commissioner James Comer by 83 votes out of more than 214,000 cast.

No objections to close elections here. 

As a politics reporter, they’re much more fun to cover than blow-outs.

And did we ever have a close one Tuesday night in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, on the Republican side of the Kentucky gubernatorial primary.

WVXU politics reporters Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about tomorrow's GOP gubernatorial primary in Kentucky, which appears to be too close to call.

Would you like to hear the good news for Kentucky’s junior senator, Rand Paul, or the not-so-good news first?

Well, we don’t want to be accused of dwelling on the unpleasant, so we’ll start with the good news for Paul.

Paul, who rode the tea party wave to a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2010, is the front runner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, according to one recent poll.

Provided by campaign

Matt Bevin, a Louisville businessman with support from Kentucky tea party activists, plans to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 GOP Senate primary.

Bevin, a partner in a hedge fund group, plans to make his announcement at the Kentucky statehouse in Frankfort Wednesday morning; and go on to campaign stops in Newport and Louisville later in the day.

Challenging an incumbent U.S. Senator is always difficult; and McConnell already has $10 million in his campaign account and the support of a Super PAC called Kentuckians for strong leadership.