Al Cross

Al Cross

Al Cross (Twitter @ruralj) is a professor in the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media and director of its Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. His opinions are his own, not UK’s. He was the longest-serving political writer for the Louisville Courier Journal (1989-2004) and national president of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2001-02. He joined the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2010.


Thanks to McConnell, Trump and himself, Cameron looks strong

By: - May 19, 2023

Daniel Cameron’s thumping victory in Tuesday’s hard-fought Republican primary makes him a stronger-than-forecast challenger to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear — not just because he won big, but because of how he got there. Cameron led in polls from the start, thanks to his name recognition as Kentucky’s attorney general and his national-level status as the […]


Is the McConnell era in Kentucky politics over?

By: - May 12, 2023

Mitch McConnell is back in the saddle as leader of Republican senators, but his status as the leader of Kentucky Republicans seems in doubt as they head toward Tuesday’s primary election. First, a Washington update: After a 40-day absence from a fall and a head injury, the 81-year McConnell (he’s exactly nine months older than […]


GOP gubernatorial race features national themes, players. And some Kentucky quirks.

By: - May 5, 2023

Welcome, Derby visitors! Kentucky’s annual turn on the national stage is our chance to look at the state’s politics with a national perspective. This year we’re electing a governor and other state constitutional officers, and messages in the May 16 Republican primary are dominated by the national themes of identity politics and the culture war; […]

‘Neighbors, heroes and leaders’ step up after last summer’s record flooding

By: - May 1, 2023

HAZARD — How does one of the nation’s poorest rural regions recover from the most disastrous flooding some of its communities have ever seen? “Neighbors, heroes and leaders.” That answer was the three-legged theme sounded repeatedly by Peter Hille, chair of the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation, at its annual conference in Hazard Thursday and Friday […]


Can the fabulously funded, falsehood-flaunting Craft campaign buy a nomination for governor?

By: - April 21, 2023

This article is published with permission of the Northern Kentucky Tribune, a nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism. Ever since the Republican primary for governor shaped up, the big question has been: Can personal wealth buy a GOP nomination for the state’s highest office? Now we ask, can money and misinformation win the […]


Seeking GOP primary votes, would-be Kentucky governors fall in line for Trump

By: - April 7, 2023

This article is published with permission of the Northern Kentucky Tribune, a nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism. Kentucky’s political system, largely run by Republicans these days, has thankfully avoided copying other red states’ mischief with their election systems, spawned largely by Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was taken from […]


Republican legislature overdoes it trying to trip up Democrat Beshear

By: - March 24, 2023

For a few minutes on the ides of March, it seemed the legislature was really legislating. Faced with a transgender-youth bill that ignored medical advice, the state Senate did a rare thing in this era of tight partisan control: It voted on a substantive floor amendment, and wonder of wonders, narrowly passed it. The amendment […]


No-compromise culture war has ruined our politics

By: - March 10, 2023

When the Kentucky House voted to ban gender-affirming medical treatment for Kentucky minors, even if their parents want them to have such care, it illustrated what’s wrong with our politics and with the Kentucky General Assembly. Medical science and wisdom are ignored, and the legislative process is abused, all for political expediency. The loudest and […]


As GOP split widens on Ukraine, McConnell campaigns hard for more military support

By: - February 24, 2023

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has become one of the most outspoken advocates of stronger support for Ukraine, even as his party displays a deeper split on the issue. McConnell made his position clear last Friday at the Munich Security Conference, repeatedly calling for accelerating and expanding military aid to Ukraine. “I think we ought […]


Legislative session is a battleground in Kentucky governor’s race

By: - February 10, 2023

FRANKFORT. – The General Assembly is back in the state capital, and we can safely assume the governor’s not happy about it. Andy Beshear is a Democrat running for a second term, and the legislature is run by Republicans who want a fellow partisan to replace him. It’s the first time a Kentucky legislature controlled by one […]


As she runs with a big issue, Kelly Craft raises questions about her approach

By: - January 27, 2023

This column is reprinted from the Northern Kentucky Tribune, a nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism. FRANKFORT – Elections should be about issues, not just candidates. So, Republican Kelly Craft is to be commended for making the first substantive commercial in the governor’s race about one of Kentucky’s most difficult issues: drug […]

Craft says ’empty chair’ was a ‘close family member’ who overcame addiction

By: - January 23, 2023

This article is republished from Kentucky Health News, an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. For weeks, Kentuckians have seen and heard this message from Kelly Craft, one […]