What political observers are expecting from the stage and behind the scenes at Fancy Farm

07/12/2017 01:27 PM

Even though this year is an off-cycle year political analysts say Fancy Farm has not lost its importance, adding every year is an opportunity for politicians to mix it up and interact with voters.

Les Fugate, a Republican, the executive vice president of RunSwitch PR and the former deputy assistant secretary of state, and Sherman Brown, a Democrat, principal at McCarthy Strategic Solutions and the veteran of numerous Democratic campaigns, recently sat down with Pure Politics to talk about the Fancy Farm picnic and what to expect this year.

The 137th annual picnic will not feature Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, his staff says he has other plans that day, or Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, her staff never responded to an email seeking comment on her schedule for the first Saturday in August.

Fugate said he’s been on the record for years saying every politician who is invited should participate, however he thinks the attention will be focused on House Republicans and the gains they’ve made in recent elections.

“I don’t think it’s detrimental to the Republicans at all that the governor is not there,” Fugate said. “The question with his feud with Attorney General Beshear — Gen. Beshear didn’t go last year, so it’s hard for Gen. Beshear to criticize the governor for not being there. So it ends up being kind of a wash for political advantage for the event.”

Brown anticipates that Democrats, including Beshear will take shots at the incumbent governor who will not be in attendance.

“What I would expect that the Democrats, not just the attorney general, but Democrats in general will pounce on is that the narrative of Bevin hiding. Whether that means only posting on Facebook, using Facebook live, using social media rather than traditional media,” Brown said.

The picnic will continue to be a mainstay, but Brown and Fugate will also be watching to see the behind the scenes view of the picnic — where potential tickets are formed and campaigns are considered.

Fugate mentioned another potential gubernatorial challenger in 2019 former Democratic Auditor Adam Edelen, wondering if the Lexington businessman will show up at the event in far western Kentucky.

“I do think the off stage stuff is always more important to the insiders — people that are down there paying attention, because that’s where you’ll hear things that you’re not going to hear — that they may not want the media to have a hold of,” Brown added.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.