Matt Bevin wasn't ready this week to talk about the specifics of his campaign for governor.
He also cut off questions about his losing primary challenge e to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
So as the 2015 GOP gubernatorial primary race gets underway a week after the filing deadline, Bevin is in a bit of campaign limbo, between a campaign that he doesn't want to talk about and one he's not yet prepared to talk about.
In remarks to the Kentucky Association of Realtors gubernatorial forum Tuesday, Bevin was short on specifics, parroting former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner and Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer in talking generally about school choice, labor laws and creating a more competitive business climate in Kentucky.
After saying that seven minutes was not enough time to share his vision for the state, Bevin instead talked about his children, his background and his love for real estate.
"I understand that there are things that are at stake for us in this state and in this country," Bevin told the crowd. "We know that to be true. I could sit here and take the remainder of my seven minutes talking about all the battles that we have to fight [but] we know what they are."
Tuesday's forum — the fourth that Heiner and Comer have participated in and Bevin's first — was a reminder that while the filing deadline was last week, the Republican race for governor started back when Bevin was still taking on McConnell.
To that end, Bevin will have to quickly find some closure on last year and a reason for running this year.
In a terse exchange with reporters after the event, Bevin conceded that there were few policy disagreements dividing the Republicans running, saying that he will instead be running on "life experience."
With all those similarities, The Associated Press asked Bevin if the race would come down to personality.
"It's not even a function of personality," Bevin responded. "It's a function of life experience. Who's actually a job creator? Not somebody you know who maybe inherited something or maybe had something given to them or whatever the case."
He is not, he said, running because he enjoys high name ID after running against McConnell.
"Heck, if it was as simple as that there'd be a whole lot more people running for races at any given point in time," Bevin said. "The reality is what people want is somebody who not only says what they are hoping to hear, but somebody that they have confidence will actually do it. And what I'm giving people is somebody who has a fuller life experience than most of those in the race."
But Bevin reacted angrily to questions about 2014, insisting that he did in fact vote for McConnell in November, accusing the media of trying to "make a story out of something that was never a story" and cutting off questions that weren't related to his run for governor by repeating the same answer to the same question four times: "Do any of you have any questions as it relates to the governor's race?"
In that vein, Bevin allowed one question, answering that he would end Kynect and transfer enrollees to the federal "Obamacare" exchange, before walking off and declining to answer a question about his stance on gaming, saying: "We'll talk very specifically about all these things as we move forward."
"You guys do understand I'm running for governor, correct?" Bevin said. "This is a race for governor. The issues that are being asked as they are germane to this race are those that relate to what is needed for this state both now and going forward."
While Bevin might want to move past his nasty battle against McConnell, McConnell's top aides and allies told the Herald-Leader last week that all is neither forgiven nor forgotten. They continue to harbor hard feelings about Bevin's refusal to officially endorse McConnell even a week before the general election.
Bevin does enjoy high name ID within the ranks of Republican primary voters despite winning only 35 percent of the vote in his run against McConnell, and the crowd appeared engaged as he spoke Tuesday with several people stopping him to chat after the event.
In his remarks to the crowd and to reporters, Bevin, who entered the race at the last minute, did not seem ready to talk about why specifically he thinks he would be a better governor than the rest of the crowd.
"There's going to be some differences," Bevin said. "There's certain candidates, and you've heard them, I'll let them speak for themselves, but some have differences of opinion as it relates to this thing or that thing. But in general ... we are largely of like mind."
When former political reporter Al Cross asked Bevin when the candidate might "show some leg," Bevin said: "I'm not that kind of guy."
"It'll be out there. Trust me," Bevin said. "As people are paying attention, and they're starting to, they will have more than enough information to make all the decisions they need to."
When Cross, the director of UK's Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, posited that Bevin might not unveil any policy specifics until May, Bevin was noncommittal, saying: "We'll see."
To the crowd that heard him speak, Bevin promised a platform to come if they would only stay tuned.
"We will be unrolling in the months ahead exactly where we stand on all these things we've discussed, and I would be grateful for your consideration," Bevin said.