Saturday, August 1, 2015

Comer and McConnell stump for former foe Bevin

By Al Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

MAYFIELD, Ky., Aug. 1 -- Top Republicans who have clashed recently displayed unity this morning before the Fancy Farm Picnic. GOP gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin received endorsements from the man he barely defeated this spring, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer; and the man who whipped him last spring, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

The Graves County Republican breakfast was Bevin's first appearance on a program with McConnell, who got 60 percent of the vote in defeating him in the 2014 Senate primary, and the first political appearance for Comer since he lost to Bevin by 83 votes in this year's primary for governor.

Comer delivered the stronger endorsement, saying of Bevin, "He's a good man. He's a good leader, and he has good ideas, and he has a good team. If we work hard for Matt Bevin, then he can change this state and he can move Kentucky forward, and he can make Kentucky proud again. And he can make the kind of governor that we've dreamed of having my entire life."

Bevin loved Comer's vote-margin shirt.
Comer gave Bevin a University of Cincinnati shirt with the number 83 on the back, signifying the primary margin and Bevin's strong performance in Northern Kentucky, where Comer's running mate, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is from.

McConnell, speaking earlier about the nature of primaries, said Comer "would have made a great candidate for governor, but he came in second, and he's a good sport, and he's here, and he's supporting Matt Bevin."

As for their own primary, McConnell said of Bevin, "As I think by any objective standard he took a pretty big butt-kicking in the primary last year."

As the growd guffawed, Bevin interjected, "this was supposed to happen at Fancy Farm."

McConnell said Bevin could have said, "I've had enough of this business. But he didn't give up. and he wanted to try to make a difference, and try to change this state. And, boy, this state needs changing, big time."

After citing things that he said make the state uncompetitive, McConnell said, "We've got to change this state, and it all begins with the governor's election and the [state] House next year and we're gonna let 'em down, right?"

With that, McConnell returned to his main topic area, national issues and his new role as Senate majority leader. Earlier he won applause by saying that he has scheduled for Monday a vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, currently the main target of anti-abortion forces.

The legislation has raised the prospect of another budget impasse that could shut down the federal government, but McConnell told reporters afterward that there would be no government shutdown.

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