Don't count on a post-primary reprieve from politics. Kentucky's candidates for governor are already off and running.
The break between Election Night and the start of the 2023 election season was brief – with GOP candidates presenting a united front Friday and incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear releasing his first video ad.
Concession speeches from GOP gubernatorial frontrunners Ryan Quarles and Kelly Craft included the standard nods toward unity after the results were tallied, but a press conference Friday meant to present a united Republican front consisted mostly of legislative leaders and candidates who scored a spot on the ballot in November.
Republican nominee for governor Daniel Cameron said he’s starting the process of looking for a running mate and repeated the charge that Beshear takes too much credit for economic successes in Kentucky that owe more to the business climate created by the GOP-led General Assembly.
"We're going to remind people of what his actual record is," he told media outlets.
Yet Beshear appears eager to tout that record in his first video ad, which sticks to positive messaging, as the governor starts a bus tour. The incumbent says under his administration the commonwealth has added "46,000 more jobs than before the pandemic."
The ad revisits the unprecedented challenges faced by his administration and the state, ending with a promise never to stop “showing up and working for the people of Kentucky.”
The events mark the start of what’s expected to be a bruising and expensive campaign – one with national implications as it could provide a window into voter sentiment heading into 2024.