Red, White and Blue Picnic to feature state candidates

With only one local election on the Nov. 5 ballot, that means Tuesday’s annual Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce Red, White and Blue Picnic will feature candidates seeking statewide offices.

Sponsored by Big Rivers Electric Corp., the picnic will start at 4:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse along Second Street.

Candance Castlen Brake, chamber president, said the gubernatorial candidates — Republican incumbent Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear — will be the only top state candidates unable to attend.

However, their lieutenant governor candidates — Republican Ralph A. Alvarado and Democrat Jacqueline Coleman — will be part of the picnic’s lineup.

Candidates for state auditor, agriculture commissioner, secretary of state and attorney general will also be there and given an allotted time to speak.

According to the Kentucky Secretary of State records, 24,460 Daviess Countians cast votes in the last gubernatorial election in 2015. That’s a 34.5% turnout rate.

“First of all, 100% voter turnout is what everybody should want,” Brake said. “But realistically, we’re shooting for at least 50%. We always want to push the envelope and challenge the community to embrace that civic right and privilege that we all have.”

With exception of the lieutenant governor candidates who will have seven minutes to speak, the remaining state office seekers each be given five minutes during the picnic.

They include:

• Secretary of state — Republican Michael G. Adams and Democrat Heather French Henry.

• Attorney general — Republican Daniel Cameron and Democrat Gregory D. Stumbo.

• Auditor of public accounts — Republican incumbent Mike Harmon and Democrat Sheri Donahue.

• State treasurer — Republican incumbent Allison Ball and Democrat Michael Bowman

• Commissioner of agriculture — Republican incumbent Ryan F. Quarles and Democrat Robert Haley Conway.

The one local election is for the nonpartisan Sixth Judicial Circuit Court, Second Division seat. Lisa Payne Jones is running for the seat unopposed.

The Fraternal Order of Police will be providing free food for the picnic, Brake said.

The Red, White and Blue event is a successor to Thomas “Red” Saltsman’s annual Red’s Picnic in Sorgho, which lasted from 1958 until his death in 2005.

Brake said having Red in the name is an homage to Saltman and his legacy.

She added that it made sense for the chamber to take the reins of the picnic.

“Civic participation is one of the leading indicators for a healthy community,” Brake said. “And we’re in that business of having a community that’s thriving and growing. It’s good for businesses, and it’s good for everyone else. I believe, especially in communities our size across the country, it’s a major role of the chambers of commerce to make sure people understand the importance of being involved in the political process.”