Politics & Government

President Trump is coming to Rupp Arena to stump for Bevin the day before the election

President Donald Trump is coming to Lexington.

The Trump campaign announced late Friday that the president is coming to Rupp Arena on Monday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. the day before Kentucky’s gubernatorial election.

Republicans are hoping for a “Trump bump” from the President as Bevin faces a tough reelection bid against Attorney General Andy Beshear.

“Governor Bevin looks forward to welcoming President Trump back to Kentucky,” said Davis Paine, Bevin’s campaign manager. “The president knows what’s at stake in this election: to keep moving Kentucky forward with Governor Bevin and a strong partnership with the White House, or to take Kentucky backward with an anti-Trump, pro-impeachment liberal like Andy Beshear.”

Bevin has strongly touted his relationship with Trump on the campaign trail while attempting to paint Beshear as a liberal who would try to block the president’s agenda, despite Beshear’s efforts to keep the popular president out of the race.

Beshear has largely avoided talking about Trump on the campaign trail. When he’s asked about the President, Beshear often pivots to talking about how, as Attorney General, his office worked with Trump’s Justice Department to help clear the state’s backlog of rape kits.

“This race isn’t about the White House; it’s what’s going on in your house,” Beshear said at the WKYT debate Tuesday. “It’s those kitchen table issues that keep you awake at night.”

In June, Beshear made a rare departure from his stump speech and said he would like to stop “the negative policies of Donald Trump,” a gaffe that Republicans have pounced on. Bevin has tried to pin Beshear down on where he stands on the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump, which recent polling showed 65 percent of Kentuckians don’t support.

Beshear has said he could only support impeachment if “he saw actual facts and all I’ve seen are news stories.” But he has also said he doesn’t believe “you should mix domestic politics with foreign policy.”

Kentucky is one of just three states holding an election in 2019, making it a proxy for the 2020 presidential campaign. The fact that it’s close despite the president having won the Kentucky by more than 16 points in 2020, has caught the attention of the White House, according to Politico.

“Issues talked about here are going to be talked about at the national level,” Bevin said Tuesday. “And so I think it’s important for us to focus on these and to be very intentional about the fact that things we are fighting for are being talked about at the national level.”

Trump’s return to Kentucky has long been expected. Bevin has said throughout the campaign that Trump would make multiple visits to the state over the course of the gubernatorial race.

At Trump’s first visit this year, an August speech at a conference for the American Veterans, the president talked up Bevin’s work as governor.

“A man who has really done a great job, I don’t know if he’s appreciated, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, but he’s done an incredible job and your state is doing phenomenal business,” Trump said of Bevin. “And I want to take all of the credit and I can’t because I have to give him a lot too, because he’s been a truly great governor.”

Trump also made a visit to Richmond last fall to help Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, win reelection against former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath. Some in the crowd booed the governor after his name was mentioned by Trump.

Bevin’s popularity has increased since that rally, as he’s waged a campaign that has stressed the economy while stoking controversial issues like abortion rights and illegal immigration. The latest independent poll by Mason-Dixon polling put the race at a dead heat heading into the final weeks of the campaign.

The poll showed that Trump remains popular in Kentucky, with a 57 percent approval rating in the state. Meanwhile, 42 percent of the respondents saw Bevin unfavorably and 48 percent disapproved of the job he is doing as governor.

Doors will open at 4 p.m. Monday for general admission. Tickets are available at https://www.donaldjtrump.com/events/ky-lex-2019-nov

Daniel Desrochers has been the political reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader since 2016. He previously worked for the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia.
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