As the 137th Fancy Farm Picnic approaches on Saturday, Aug. 5, the list of political speakers confirmed to attend has grown, promising some hot politics as well as hot barbecue for the occasion.
However, Mark Wilson, the political speaking event chairman, said U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell or Rand Paul — whom he hopes will make it — most likely would not confirm until very close to the event coming up Saturday on the main stage.
“The only ones we are still awaiting are the two U.S. senators,” Wilson said. “We don’t anticipate hearing anything one way or the other until at least the mid-part” of the week. “It will be up close to picnic time.”
So far, Kentucky Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover, a Republican and House Minority Leader Rep. Rocky Adkins, a Democrat, have pledged to appear, according to Wilson.
Another name has recently been added to the roster, Libertarian National Committee Chairman Nick Sarwark.
“He’s going to be here, but we’re not sure about anyone else just yet,” Wilson added.
Others who previously confirmed for the debate include Second District Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield, as well as Sen. Stan Humphries, R-Cadiz, First District U.S. Rep. James Comer, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and state Auditor Mike Harmon, all Republicans.
Each year, the political committee invites local, state and federal office holders and leading candidates to speak, and confirmations are received practically right up to the day of the event so more announcements are forthcoming.
Gov. Matt Bevin has said he will not appear and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, although invited, has not confirmed. Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, has confirmed.
On Friday, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced that she would not appear.
Former Kentucky House Speaker Bobby Richardson, a Democrat from Glasgow, will serve as master of ceremonies.
The speaking roster is subject to change and speakers will flip a coin to set the order, Wilson said.