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Kentucky Democratic Party, Beshear won’t back Congressional nominee Geoff Young

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J. Tyler Franklin
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Perennial political candidate Geoff Young is the Democratic nominee for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional district, but the state party and top elected official, Gov. Andy Beshear, say they won’t support him.

He’ll face Republican incumbent Rep. Andy Barr during this year’s General Election in November.

Young is a retired state engineer and has battled with the Kentucky Democratic Party for years, accusing the organization of rigging primary elections against him. He’s filed several lawsuits against the party and top Democratic figures, none of which advanced very far in the courts system.

Recently, he made controversial statements supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Young posted a conversation on his campaign website in which he says the Ukrainian Army is dominated by Nazis, repeating propaganda Russian President Vladimir Putin has used to justify the country’s invasion.

He defended the statement during an interview on Thursday.

“My motto from now until November is, unlike Andy Barr, I will never vote to send weapons to Nazis. That should be a very popular position in America,” Young said.

Young defeated Berea high school teacher Chris Preece by about 1,000 votes in the primary election, the first time Young has secured a major party nomination after a decade of attempts. He ran for Congress in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020, ran for governor in 2015 and 2019 and for state representative in 2012.

Beshear said he would not support Young’s candidacy during an appearance in Louisville on Wednesday.

“Geoff Young needs help, and this is not going to help him,” Beshear said.

“He’s also the only person that’s yelled something nasty at me while I was standing with my son. Had to have conversations with him I should have been able to wait a couple years to have.”

According to Young, Beshear was referring to an incident in 2019 where Young camped outside the Democratic Party headquarters in Frankfort and yelled “one of the criminals has arrived” when Beshear and his son walked past him.

The Kentucky Democratic Party issued a statement saying the organization would not endorse Young’s candidacy.

“The party cannot actively support a candidate that engages in countless frivolous lawsuits against the party, its officers and virtually every elected official over the past decade,” the statement read.

Young said it was “unfortunate” Beshear wouldn’t support him, and that the move would help Republicans and hurt Democrats.

“I would like to say that I have no mental illness and that his implication that I need help, the way he said it, is itself an extremely nasty comment that he shouldn’t have made,” Young said.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Andy Barr has held the 6th district seat since 2013. Democrats have long hoped to flip the seat in their favor, and got close to doing so in the 2018 election with retired fighter pilot Amy McGrath as the nominee.

But the district likely got a little more favorable for Republicans after this year’s round of redistricting, when the GOP-led legislature redrew the district to remove Democrat-heavy Frankfort.

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. Always looking to put a face to big issues,Ryland'sreporting has taken him to drought-weary towns in West Texas and relocated communities in rural China. He's covered breaking news like the 2014 shooting at Fort Hood Army Base and the aftermath of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
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