Though he announced his intention to again run for the state’s highest office in 2021, Gov. Andy Beshear officially filed to run for reelection on Monday.
First elected in 2019 after defeating Republican incumbent Matt Bevin, Beshear signed the paperwork for a second term in the Office of the Secretary of State, joined by his family and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman.
“Today with Britainy, Will, Lila, and my parents by my side, I filed to run for reelection for Governor of our great commonwealth,” Beshear said in a Facebook post. “Jacqueline Coleman and I remain committed to building a better Kentucky for all our families.”
Beshear will face Peppy Martin in the primary. Martin is a former Republican who won the gubernatorial nomination in 1999 but lost to Democrat Paul Patton in the general election.
Beshear has so far raised more than $4.5 million for his reelection campaign.
Whoever wins the Democratic primary will face a very crowded Republican field. Twelve candidates have announced a run for governor, including three Northern Kentuckians — State Rep. Savannah Maddox (R-Dry Ridge), former attorney Eric Deters, and David Cooper, who filed to run last month.
The field includes State Auditor Mike Harmon, former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck, Anthony Moore, Johnny Rice, Robert Devore, and Robbie Smith.
After Beshear’s announcement, the Republican Party of Kentucky Spokesman Sean Southard said that the Democratic incumbent doesn’t represent Kentucky values.
“During his time in office, Andy Beshear has vetoed a tax cut during 40-year high inflation, embraced a woke agenda on race and gender, and presided over an incredible loss in learning for our students,” Southard said in a statement.
Southard also pointed out that for the first time in Kentucky history, Republican voter registration outnumbers Democratic voters, and Republicans further gained seats in both the Senate and the House where they hold supermajorities — in the Senate, 31 out of 38 seats, and in the House 80 out of 100 seats.
“In 2022, Kentuckians rejected him and the Democrat Party by flipping the voter registration advantage to Republicans and sending a record number of our candidates into office,” Southard said. “The fundamentals are strong for a Republican candidate to defeat him, and we stand ready to support our nominee once the primary process is concluded. In 2023, the Andy Beshear show will have its final season.”