Possible Beshear Challenger: Derby Shows State Primed To Reopen

May 3, 2021

Potential GOP candidate for governor Ryan Quarles says the Kentucky Derby shows the state is "ready to get back to normal."

A woman watches in the paddock before the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky.
Credit AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

In an opinion piece, the agriculture commissioner points to the signature Kentucky event as evidence that the state should reopen and "reopen now."

He also takes a swing at Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear's handling of the crisis, arguing he is holding the state's "economic engine" hostage with his plan to lift capacity restrictions after the state reaches a goal of 2.5 million vaccinated against COVID-19. Quarles says the commonwealth should get a full reopening date on the books instead.

Beshear, however, argues the vaccination goal is about safety as the state looks to head off another surge in cases, amid the rise of virus variants and a slowing pace of vaccination.

The governor recently lifted masking restrictions for outdoor events with fewer than 1,000 people. But many who attended the larger Run for the Roses disregarded masking rules still in effect.