A huge lineup is expected for the annual Pulaski County Democrat Picnic, slated for Thursday evening at Pulaski County Park.

"We're excited about the number of candidates we'll have turning out," Dr. Rodney Casada, local party chair, told the Commonwealth Journal.

Headlining the event are two party leaders from the last state administration, former governor Steve Beshear and auditor Adam Edelen.

Beshear is sure to speak on behalf of his son, current Attorney General Andy Beshear, who has already announced his candidacy for governor in 2019.

Edelen is considered by many to be a potential gubernatorial candidate as well. Since leaving office, he's become involved with two projects that have earned national attention. Politically, he's worked with radio personality Matt Jones to launch The New Kentucky Project -- aimed at tapping into grassroots energy to cultivate the next generation of progressive political leaders. In the private sector, Edelen's business is spearheading a solar project to install solar panels on mountaintop removal sites in Eastern Kentucky.

Scheduled to speak on behalf of another unannounced candidate for governor, Kentucky House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, is fellow Rep. Russ Meyer.

Kenneth Stepp, the Democrat challenging 5th District U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, will be on hand along with Dean Sumpter, Democrat nominee for the 52nd District in the Kentucky House of Representative; Mona Eldridge, write-in candidate for the 85th House District; and John Rowlee, Democrat nominee for 4th District County Magistrate.

Also confirmed to attend are nonpartisan candidates for the newly created Family Court judgeship, Jane Adams Venters and Melinda Gillum Dalton; Supreme Court Justice candidates Debra Lambert and Dan Ballou; and Somerset mayoral candidates, incumbent Eddie Girdler and challenger Alan Keck.

"It should be a good lineup," Dr. Casada said, adding that other local candidates have been invited but were not confirmed by press time.

The picnic is free and open to the public. While the local races slated for the November General Election can be expected to generate healthy discussion, Pulaski Democrats are also looking ahead to next year's gubernatorial race.

"Whoever wins the [2019] Primary is sure to be back next fall," Dr. Casada said. "We just encourage everyone to get behind somebody. Our goal is to beat Gov. [Matt] Bevin next year."

The Pulaski County Democrat Picnic is scheduled to begin 6 p.m. Thursday at Pulaski County Park, located in Nancy off West Ky. 80. For more information, call Dr. Casada at 305-4806.

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