Former Trump U.N. Ambassador Announces Run in Kentucky Gubernatorial Race

by Arjun Singh


Kelly Knight Craft, a former senior diplomat in the Trump administration, has announced on Twitter a campaign for Governor of Kentucky in the state’s 2023 gubernatorial race.

“I’m running for governor because I know our best days are ahead of us,” Craft said in her tweeted video announcement. “This movement is for all of us who still believe that we can lead in education, that the government doesn’t get a seat at our kitchen table and that our kids should grow up in safe neighborhoods.”

Craft made the online announcement on Sept. 7 after months of speculation that she would seek the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who is running for re-election. Craft’s announcement emphasized her Kentucky roots and her father’s lessons about personal responsibility.

The announcement makes Craft one of several contenders for the nomination in a reliably Republican state, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index score of R+16. In the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump carried the state by 25.9%with 62.1% of the vote.

Trump, however, already made an endorsement in the race: Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, from Elizabethtown, Ky. Cameron gained prominence in 2020 when he delivered a widely-acclaimed speech at the Republican National Convention, calling on black voters to vote for Trump. He is seen as a rising star within the party, according to Politico, and is the first Black state-wide officeholder in the state.

Other candidates include Republican State Rep. Savannah Maddox of the 61st District, who has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky’s 4th District, a prominent libertarian member of the House GOP Caucus. Local media has also speculated that former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who Beshear defeated in 2019, and U.S. Rep. Andy Barr of the 6th District, may run.

Despite not having Trump’s endorsement, Craft is seen as a loyal senior member of his administration. She served as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada under Trump from 2017 to 2019, before being elevated as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations until the end of Trump’s term, replacing former Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina in the role. However, in a departure from Haley’s service, the position was stripped of its cabinet-level status during Craft’s tenure.

Craft’s husband, Joe Craft, is a billionaire businessman and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, L.P., one of the largest coal-producing companies in the United States. Both have previously been significant fundraisers for GOP candidates and donated $1 million to Trump’s 2016 Inaugural Committee.

Neither the Craft nor Cameron campaigns responded to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Arjun Singh is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Background Photo “Kentucky Capitol” by Peter Fitzgerald. CC BY-SA 2.5. 




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