Democratic candidates for governor debate for last time before election

Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate ahead of primary election next week

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WAVE) - The four democratic candidates seeking their party’s nomination for governor debated issues in Lexington on Wednesday.

(Watch the full debate at the bottom of this page)

Topics ranged from health and education, to economic development and medical marijuana.

For the candidates, it was their last appearance together in front of a live television audience before polls open Tuesday, May 21.

Most used the opportunity to tout their experience and their vision for the future.

Attorney General Andy Beshear spoke of his court victories over Bevin and his record in office.

“We all talk about education, but I fought for it,” Beshear said. “I fought for our teachers and won and fought for funding for higher education. We all talk about healthcare, but I’m the only one fighting a national effort to tear it away.”

House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins highlighted his resume, as well.

“It’s given me the experience to know how to make state government work across Kentucky,” Adkins said. “It’s given me the experience to have the relationships in the super-controlled Republican House and Senate of how to get things done.”

Dark horse candidate Geoff Young agreed and even endorsed Adkins.

“You tend toward more conservative, Rocky’s the best choice,” Young said. “If you are more progressive, you should vote for me on May 21st.”

Former state auditor Adam Edelen portrayed himself as a break from state business as usual.

“That is insufficient leadership at a time of unprecedented economic, cultural and technological change,” Edelen said. “Give to a governor the power to build the future. But make sure you elect a governor who knows what it looks like.”

Katherine Speece, UK Student Body Vice President, said some in the crowd were still undecided voters heading into the election.

“I did know of a couple of viewers that were (undecided)," Speece said. "They said it was a great experience that really helped them inform themselves on the issues.”

Sydney Blocker, a junior at UK, said the debate caused her to switch who she planned to vote for.

“I had really thought that I was voting for Beshear," she said. "After this debate, I definitely think that Adam Edelen will be a strong, strong democratic candidate.”

Blocker said she would’ve liked to see all candidates discuss issues in more detail, though.

“I’m super excited that our university got to host it and showcase all of these potential candidates," she said. "However, I would have liked to see more substance from our candidates.”

Republican candidates did not debate, but a statement released by Gov. Matt Bevin’s campaign indicated they were watching.

“While all the Democrats have bragged about voting for Hillary Clinton, Gov. Bevin continues to partner with President Trump,” the statement said. “A partnership that has created over 50,000 jobs, leading to the lowest unemployment in Kentucky history.”

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Posted by WAVE 3 News on Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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