Thursday’s Kentucky Farm Bureau forum with the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor saw some of the most heated exchanges between the two candidates yet, but it could be a mere preview of what’s to come when the pair appear at the Fancy Farm picnic next week.
Though the gubernatorial contenders found common ground on reining in EPA regulation and defending the state’s flagging coal industry, it was knives out on issues like health care and farm subsidies.
Answering a question about the former, Democrat Jack Conway defended the state’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act while Republican Matt Bevin questioned Kentucky’s ability to pay the piper when bills start coming due in 2017.
"[The expansion] can indeed pay for itself, but what I am not going to do is what my opponent will do on day one, which is by executive order kick over a half million people off of health insurance," Conway charged.
"If you offer something to people that you know you can't pay for, you're lying to them," Bevin countered. "That's cruel. That's inappropriate. I have not said that on day one by executive order I'm going to kick these people off. That's an absolute lie."
in a taste of what’s likely on the way when the pair appear next Saturday at the lively Fancy Farm picnic, the candidates also clashed over their respective records – with Bevin tying Conway to President Obama and Conway highlighting past statements he said cast doubt on his opponent’s trustworthiness.
Independent candidate Drew Curtis was not invited to the farm bureau event. The Versailles-based entrepreneur says he’s collected the required number of signatures to run but has yet to register them with the state.