It was at the same Reagan Day dinner one year ago, in the doorway of the same Griffin Gate Marriott ballroom, when Matt Bevin angrily tried to confront now-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell's wife, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, used her body to prevent Bevin from getting to McConnell, leaving the challenger to turn and seethe.
"Pathetic," Bevin said.
A year later, Bevin is in the hunt for the Republican gubernatorial election, and on Saturday, he stood before the crowd at the Fayette County Reagan Dinner, pointed to the motto on the Kentucky state flag and declared that Republicans should be unified behind whomever wins the GOP nomination.
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"We should have unity," Bevin said. "There are four good candidates."
Then he took a shot at opponent and fellow Louisville businessman Hal Heiner.
With just more than three weeks until the primary, Republican officials are trying to ensure that the party will emerge from an increasingly contentious primary unified to take on Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway even as the candidates step up the volume and intensity of attacks on each other.
In a race where the four candidates are in general agreement on the issues — favoring tax reform, opposing Common Core and "Obamacare," embracing right-to-work laws — the sniping and elbows are getting sharper and sharper as each candidate tries to pull away from the pack.
On Saturday afternoon, a few hours before the Reagan dinner, the candidates traded paint during a debate on the scuffed stage in East Jessamine High School. Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer accused Heiner of surrounding himself with "bad apples" from the Fletcher administration.
Comer has gone so far as to launch a website called WhatsHalHiding.com, paid for by his campaign, that harshly criticizes Heiner on a number of fronts.
Referring to a Lexington fundraiser for Heiner hosted by former Fletcher allies, Comer said: "I don't want to see those people back in power again."
"If it weren't for some of those people that hosted that fundraiser for you last week we wouldn't have Steve Beshear as governor," Comer said. "So there's a big difference in who we're surrounding ourselves with in this campaign."
Heiner shot back, saying that Fletcher "is a good man, and he did surround himself with good people," assailing Comer for siding with Speaker of the House and former Attorney General Greg Stumbo.
"You know, I hate to see the commissioner here siding with an attorney general who woke up every morning, dedicated every fiber of his being, to taking down the Fletcher administration," Heiner said.
The flare-up over Fletcher was the latest in a series of shots fired back and forth between Heiner, Comer and Bevin, with only recently retired state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott trying to avoid the heat.
On Saturday alone, Comer accused Heiner of a "lie," pointing to mailers that a pro-Heiner super PAC, which is run by former Heiner campaign manager Joe Burgan, have distributed saying that Comer is in favor of "Obamacare."
Last week, Bevin was "caught red-handed," according to the Heiner campaign, running negative push poll calls against Heiner.
The keynote speaker of the dinner, Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, implored the state's Republicans to "dust off your knees" after the primary and work together toward electing a Republican governor, before training the majority of her remarks on a blistering critique of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In at least part of their remarks everywhere they go, the Republican candidates all offer tepid agreement that any of the four would be a better candidate than Conway. Then they usually return to trying to destroy each other.
State Democrats, meanwhile, seem to be thoroughly enjoying the show, putting out a release on Friday enumerating some of the charges that the Republican candidates are leveling at each other.
"The Republican-on-Republican attacks are coming fast and furious, so to help you keep track here's a quick recap of 10 insults and accusations that the candidates have hurled at each other this past week," the Kentucky Democratic Party said in the release.
And if Saturday's events were any indication, the Republican candidates are not about to let up.
Bevin demonstrated that he is still angry about super PAC ads that were critical of him, following up his call for unity by saying that a candidate who feels "the need to smear other people in this race should be something that everybody in this room looks down upon."
Republican officials appear to be somewhat concerned about the negative tone of the race.
This month, in a letter sent to the candidates, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; U.S. Sen. Rand Paul; and U.S. Reps. Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, Hal Rogers and Andy Barr asked the four men running to "pledge to join us in a show of unity at the statewide Lincoln Day dinner in Lexington on May 30."
Scott has been eager to promote that message of unity even as polling shows him bringing up the rear.
"Tonight, I've been to the top of the mountain, and I've looked out over the valley and I've seen the tomorrow of the Republican Party and let me tell you it's beautiful. It's gorgeous," Scott said Saturday night.
Scott won a few chuckles from the crowd when he said he expects to win and be sworn-in this December, but he followed that by saying that if that doesn't happen, he would enthusiastically back the nominee.
"I'm going to give the one that's lucky enough to beat me my undivided attention and support, and I promise you that, and I don't care if they make me mad in this campaign doing it," he said.
At the Jessamine County debate, Matt Lockett, chairman of the county GOP, asked the candidates afterward if they would all commit to supporting the eventual nominee.
Each candidate agreed, but only after more than an hour-and-a-half of trading barbs.
Bevin has been vocal in criticizing Heiner and Comer for "flip-flopping" on their opposition to Kynect, the state-run health care exchange, and he continued to do so at Saturday's debate.
Heiner, who has enjoyed frontrunner status for the past few weeks and all the slings and arrows that entails, got more aggressive in pushing back against that charge at the debate Saturday, raising his voice as he questioned how Bevin could flatly opposed the state exchange without offering an alternative for Kentuckians who are getting their health insurance there.
After Heiner raised his voice slightly, Bevin chuckled and responded: "You seem a little angry, Hal."