Prominent Kentucky Republican and three-time candidate for governor Larry Forgy has died.
Forgy’s sister, state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington posted the news on Facebook Thursday morning.
“He was a devoted son, brother, father, and friend in addition to his long and distinguished career in law and politics. We are all heartbroken to lose this wonderful man who had a profound impact in Kentucky, but we are comforted to know that he is now in the embrace of our Heavenly Father. We are grateful to all who have assisted in his care and comfort during his last several years of declining health,” Forgy Kerr wrote.
Forgy was 82 years old and had been in declining health for years. He died at 12:50 a.m. Thursday at University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, according to his sister.
Forgy was a lifelong Republican who found himself at odds with his party from time to time. He started his political career in his late 20s as the budget director for Republican Gov. Louie Nunn.
He went on to run for governor three times—withdrawing after fundraising problems in 1987, losing the Republican nomination to Congressman Larry Hopkins in 1991 and narrowly losing to Democrat Paul Patton in 1995 in the General Election.
Forgy backed Republican then-upstart Matt Bevin in his bid to unseat incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 primary race, saying he would choose not voting over supporting McConnell.
In response, McConnell lashed out at him for donating to Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid’s campaign. Forgy and Reid attended law school together at George Washington University.
In a statement, McConnell said he was saddened by Forgy’s death.
“Larry built a high-profile career in both law and politics, making it his life’s work to serve the Commonwealth and its citizens. Through his advocacy, he forged friendships with Kentuckians from all corners of our state, and I know we will all miss his humor, lively speeches, and kind heart,” McConnell wrote.
Remembrances poured out from other Kentucky Republicans on Thursday.
Republican Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said hearing Forgy speak “was a real treat.”
“He was one of the best off the cuff stump speakers I ever had the privilege of hearing, never hesitated to speak his mind, and served as an inspiration for many young conservatives growing up in Kentucky. My thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Quarles said.
Republican State Auditor Mike Harmon wrote of Forgy: “His passion was for the betterment of our Commonwealth, and he dedicated much of his life in advocating for Kentucky. Lynn and I offer our prayers to his family.”