Politics & Government

McConnell tells Fancy Farm crowd ‘we’ve already made a huge difference’

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to local Republicans at the annual Graves County GOP breakfast in Mayfield, Ky., before the annual Fancy Farm picnic August 5, 2017.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to local Republicans at the annual Graves County GOP breakfast in Mayfield, Ky., before the annual Fancy Farm picnic August 5, 2017.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrived at the 137th annual Fancy Farm picnic in Graves County Saturday after a week of speculation on whether he would find time to attend. He seems to revel each year in the give-and-take of the picnic and fully understands its history and importance to Western Kentuckians.

McConnell, accompanied by his wife, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, glossed over the Senate’s recent failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, by highlighting other accomplishments.

“We’ve already made a huge difference and we’re only six months into a Congress that lasts two years,” he said at the Saturday morning Graves County Republican breakfast. “We’re not through, we’re not through at all.”

Speaking at the Fancy Farm picnic Saturday afternoon, McConnell concluded with this: “I end my remarks with three words: Justice Neil Gorsuch.”

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McConnell and his wife left the picnic stage when Democrats started speaking.

Emcee Bobby Richardson, a Glasgow attorney who is a former state House speaker, watched the power couple leave. He then turned to the crowd and said, “I was going to ask him to do the benediction.”

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U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville, told the smaller-than-usual crowd at Fancy Farm in this year of no elections that he had considered making fun of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

He then turned to Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear and said he thought if he had done that, Beshear “would indict me for abuse of a corpse.”

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Count Greenville attorney Brent Yonts among the Democrats in the state House last year who got swept away by “the Trump tsumani” and allowed Republicans to gain control of the chamber for the first time in nearly 100 years.

“In all likelihood, I will run for the House in 2018,” said Yonts while standing in line at the event’s Grand Knights of Columbus picnic.

He said he expects several other Democrats who went down to defeat last year will try to make a comeback next year.

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Picnic political organizer Mark Wilson had to note the most beautiful weather at Fancy Farm in years, with blue skies, little humidity and temperatures in the comfortable low 80s.

He said Father Darrell Venters of St. Jerome Catholic Church “wore out the rosary beads” in coming up with this year’s weather.

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The best political advice for politicians who speak at Fancy Farm came from Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles: “You can’t win at Fancy Farm. You can only lose. Don’t lose.”

Jack Brammer: 502-227-1198, @BGPolitics

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