All 12 GOP governor candidates invited to Northern Kentucky debate

By: - March 27, 2023 5:47 pm

Kentucky Governor’s Mansion. Who’ll live here next year? (Photo by Getty Images)

The 12 Republicans seeking the party’s nomination in the upcoming governor’s race have been invited to a two-night debate in Northern Kentucky next month. 

A collaboration between the Kenton County Republican Party, WCPO 9 and LINK nky, the event will be held at the Lincoln Grant Scholar House on April 25 and 26. 

A press release said the top half of candidates “as determined by the most recent, comprehensive polling results” will debate the first night. The rest will debate the second night. Both time slots will be 90 minutes. 

Shane Noem, the Kenton County Republican Party chairman, said confirmed participants and their night of participation will be announced after April 1.  

“The Kenton County Republican Party is excited to help showcase our candidates for governor in advance of the May 16 primary election,” Noem said in a press release. “As a party organization, we do not endorse in primaries, but we do have the honor and obligation of equitably providing platforms for candidates to make their case to Republican voters.”

Live streams can be found on platforms such as WCPO 9’s apps and LINK nky’s website and Facebook page. Questions will include a variety of topics, the press release said. 

“We are committed to extensive election coverage and making sure the voters know the candidates to make an informed decision and are honored to be able to participate in the debate,” said Jeff Brogan, vice president and general manager of WCPO 9.

Lacy Starling, LINK nky president and CEO said the future debate aligns with the news outlet’s mission. 

“LINK nky is dedicated to connecting the Northern Kentucky community to the people hoping to represent it,” she said. “This debate aligns with our mission to focus on public interest journalism that provides transformative coverage of the news of the day with a focus on the deeper issues that matter most to our community. Bringing the candidates who are running for governor to tell our region what they will do to advocate for our community does just that.”

A limited number of tickets were available to be reserved by the public. The tickets had been claimed as of Monday afternoon. 

The debate in northern Kentucky will be three weeks before the May 16 primary election. Four candidates— Attorney General Daniel Cameron, State Auditor Mike Harmon, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles— appeared at the Louisville GOP debate earlier this month. Former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft was invited but did not attend. 

Other upcoming debates ahead of the primary are a Republican debate hosted by Kentucky Sports Radio on April 19 and KET debates for both parties on May 1. Radio host Matt Jones said on Twitter he will moderate the KSR debate and other staffers may ask questions. Candidates to appear there are Craft, Cameron, Harmon, Keck and Quarles. Jones added that Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear will be offered an interview before the primary. 

KET has a list of criteria to invite candidates. It includes that a candidate has a campaign website with public policy statements and the candidate must have reported monetary contributions of at least $100,000 or reported expenditures of at least $100,000 for the current election.

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McKenna Horsley
McKenna Horsley

McKenna Horsley covers state politics for the Kentucky Lantern. She previously worked for newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia, and Frankfort, Kentucky. She is from northeastern Kentucky.