MURRAY – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will be the keynote speaker at the first Lincoln Reagan Dinner to be held in 2 1/2 years, the Calloway County Republican Party announced Tuesday.

“The event begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Curris Center on the campus of Murray State University,” said Calloway County Republican Party Chairman Steve Farmer. “This is an important event for the region that allows conservatives a chance to celebrate great leaders like Sen. Paul.”  

In a news release, Murray’s Greg DeLancey, Kentucky 1st District GOP chair, noted that Paul is the “chief critic on Capitol Hill” of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden. DeLancey praised the Bowling Green Republican for holding “Fauci accountable for the origins of” COVID-19. He said 1st District U.S. Rep. James Comer will also be a featured speaker at the event, which traditionally celebrates Abraham Lincoln, the first U.S. Republican president, and Ronald Reagan, known to the GOP as the “Great Communicator.”

Comer is the newly elected ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Reform. DeLancey said his appointment to the Oversight Committee puts him in a position to become its chairman if Republicans take the House in 2022, and it is a position recently held by former Congressman and current Fox News host Trey Gowdy. Kentucky legislative members from the region will also be in attendance, the release said.   

Tickets are available through the website Eventbrite.com.

“Once on the website, enter a search for ‘Lincoln Reagan Dinner Murray, Kentucky,’ and the event should pop-up in the results,” DeLancey said. “This year’s dinner is significant having had to cancel two previous events in the spring of this year and in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Having the senator speak at this moment is historically important for the 1st District.”

The last Lincoln Day Dinner was in March 2019 and featured U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was then majority leader. The 2020 dinner was scheduled for March 14, which eventually turned out to be three days after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and one day after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency.

The Lincoln Day Dinner in Murray was started in 1996 by Calloway County Republicans. In recent years, GOP members added the name Reagan to the event, and it is now considered one of the more important political occasions in Kentucky.

“This is for conservatives,” said Farmer, who became chair of the Calloway County GOP earlier this year. “The party has grown to record numbers and more people realize the importance of celebrating the freedoms under the Constitution. We believe this is a another chance to do just that.”