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Senate hopefuls not invited to speak at Fancy Farm

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 6:55 AM

Updated today at 4:43 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, expected to announce his bid for U.S. Senate on Wednesday, will not be invited to participate in Fancy Farm's political speeches on August 3, the event's organizer told WHAS11 on Monday.

Five-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), the Kentucky Secretary of State, have both accepted invitations to address the usually sweltering crowd.

"Because (Bevin) is not a sitting official, he has not been extended an invitation," said Mark Wilson, the political chair of the 133rd annual Fancy Farm Picnic, a rowdy rite of passage for Kentucky politicians. 

Democratic candidate Ed Marksberry is also not invited to speak.

In advance of the 2010 U.S. Senate race, however, several unelected candidates spoke at the picnic in 2009, including the election's eventual victor, Rand Paul.

Wilson said three current officeholders have yet to confirm whether they will attend, Gov. Steve Beshear (D), Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson (D) and Treasurer Todd Hollenbach (D).

Abramson has yet to reveal his decision whether to enter the 2015 governor's race.  Two other current officeholders who have acknowledged an interest in the race have confirmed they will speak, Attorney General Jack Conway (D) and Auditor Adam Edelen (D).

Others who have confirmed they will participate in the traditional speeches are Agriculture Commissioner James Comer (R), U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R), Kentucky Senator Stan Humphries (R) and Representative Richard Heath (R).

U.S. Senator Rand Paul has informed picnic officials that he will not attend, Wilson said.

KET “Comment on Kentucky” host Ferrell Wellman is the emcee of the political speeches which are slated to be televised by C-Span.  The picnic, a major fundraiser for St. Jerome Parish, usually draws about 10,000 people.

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