Checkmate? Beshear campaign swears it wasn't trolling Bevin with chess tweet – Courier Journal


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear’s campaign swears that it wasn’t trying to call out Republican incumbent Matt Bevin with a tweet about visiting a west Louisville chess club.

Bevin, if you remember, upset some residents in July when he said people might not associate the game with that area of the city, which is predominately African-American.

“I’m going to go in and meet the members of the West Louisville Chess Club,” Bevin said in the video. “Not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town.”

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That didn’t sit well with neighborhood leaders like Chickasaw resident Donovan Taylor, who blasted the governor. “Blacks in west Louisville enjoy chess, tennis and many other activities not associated with guns and violence,” he said.

Beshear used his Twitter campaign page Thursday to showcase a visit with the Baxter Community Chess Club, which plays regularly in a community center with the same name in the Russell neighborhood.

“Sharing a great afternoon with our future leaders at Baxter Community Chess Club,” the tweet said.

Beshear campaign spokesman Brad Bowman said the tweet isn’t meant to be a reminder to voters about the governor’s comments.

“It wasn’t a jab, and in fact we didn’t want to make it a media event,” Bowman said. “It was an opportunity to meet the kids and just wanted to show Attorney General Beshear was out meeting people.”

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The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Bevin previously dismissed questions about his remarks, saying it was silly for reporters to even bring up.

“Seriously, ask me serious questions,” Bevin told reporters in July. “If somebody wanted to be offended they could have been offended.”

The Beshear campaign declined to comment on Bevin’s original remarks.

Beshear and Bevin have been engaged in a war of words and legal papers since both took their respective offices in 2015. The attorney general has successfully sued Bevin’s administration on numerous occasions, most recently in an attempt to overturn a controversial state employees’ pension reform bill that the governor has said is needed to save Kentucky’s ailing retirement system.

Now that Beshear is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Bevin — who announced his intentions to seek re-election last weekend — it will be difficult for either of them to make a move without it being seen through a political lens.

See also: How Gov. Bevin gave one employee a $215K raise: What you should know

Reporter Phillip M. Bailey can be reached at 502-582-4475 or pbailey@courierjournal.com. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/philb.

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