2015 Election

Republican candidates for Kentucky governor say presumptive Democratic nominee Jack Conway isn’t fit to serve because he would not fight a challenge to the state’s same sex marriage ban.

Conway refused to defend the ban last year, saying the law is discriminatory. Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside counsel to defend the law.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, one of four Republicans seeking the party’s gubernatorial nomination, said not wanting to defend a law shouldn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter if you agree with the constitution or not. When you take that oath to uphold the constitution, you represent the people of Kentucky,” Comer said.

Louisville businessman and Republican frontrunner Hal Heiner said that Conway should have been required to defend the constitutional amendment.

A political action committee supporting Republican James Comer is set to become the first outsidegroup to air TV ads in this year’s GOP gubernatorial primary.

Kentuckians for Growth, Opportunity, and Prosperity is planning to spend up to $475,000 in ads that will air in the Bowling Green, Louisville, and Lexington markets, along with $75,000 worth of radio ads.

CN2 Pure Politics reports the group describes itself as supporting “limited government” and an“unabridged right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” KCOP’s executive director declined to reveal the content of the ads.

Along with Comer, three other Republicans are running for governor: Matt Bevin, Hal Heiner, and Will T. Scott. Attorney General Jack Conway and former Congressional candidate Geoff Young are seeking the Democratic nomination.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he want to “run up the score” in western Kentucky, where he leads a four-person Republican field for governor.

“As Commissioner of Agriculture, I’ve worked very closely with a lot of entrepreneurs and family farmers in Western Kentucky so they know me, they know I can provide the badly needed leadership we need in this state," said Comer. 

Last week’s Bluegrass Poll found Comer was trailing former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner by eight points statewide.  Comer has a double digit lead over his party opponents in western Kentucky. 

He says he’s the best-equipped candidate to take on presumptive Democratic nominee Jack Conway in the November general election, noting that he outpolled the state attorney general in the 2011 elections for their respective offices.

Petr Kratochvil, publicdomainpictures.net

None of Kentucky’s leading candidates for governor support creating a state plan to comply with upcoming federal carbon dioxide regulations.

Democrat Jack Conway and Republicans Hal Heiner, James Comer and Will T. Scott all say they would not continue the work of Gov. Steve Beshear’s Energy and Environment Cabinet to create a plan to reduce the commonwealth’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Hal Heiner campaign

Hal Heiner leads other Republican candidates for this year’s gubernatorial election, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The former Louisville Metro Council member leads with 28 percent of the vote in a poll conducted by SurveyUSA for The Courier-Journal, WHAS, the Lexington Herald-Leader and WKYT. The poll surveyed 1,917 registered voters.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Matt Bevin tied for second with 20 percent of the vote. Bevin unsuccessfully ran last year as a tea party candidate in the Republican Senate primary. He was defeated by now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Heiner not only lead in the polls. According to financial disclosures, Heiner’s campaign is also millions of dollars ahead of the other GOP candidates.

According to his latest disclosure, Heiner has almost $3.5 million in his campaign coffers. So far, Heiner has donated more than $4 million of his own money to his campaign.

Greg Blair, Heiner’s new campaign spokesman,, said money and airtime is not what’s driving these numbers, though.

“I don’t think anyone has worked harder than Hal Heiner to get out and talk to people and listen to people and hear what they are concerned about,” Blair said.


WKU is hosting a debate featuring Kentucky’s four Republican gubernatorial candidates.

The event is being sponsored by the Kentucky chapter of the conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by the billionaire businessmen David and Charles Koch.

Other sponsors are the conservative political publication National Review, and the WKU Department of Political Science.

The event is being held at the Downing Student Union auditorium on the school’s campus April 28, and will focus on health care; taxes and spending; and jobs and the economy.

Matt Bevin, James Comer, Hal Heiner, and Will T. Scott have confirmed they will attend the event.

Tickets to the debate are free and will be made available to the public beginning April 3.

Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons

The new leader of Kentucky’s Democratic Party believes avoiding a hotly-contested gubernatorial primary will benefit Democrats in November.

Patrick Hughes told WKU Public Radio Tuesday his party is rallying behind Attorney General Jack Conway, the only high-profile Democrat running to succeed Governor Steve Beshear. Hughes thinks Conway’s experience running for state-wide office gives him advantages over whoever wins the Republican primary in May.

“Jack is able to get the financial support necessary to run a statewide election, he’s able to get the political support to win a statewide election. So, if anything, those elections that he didn’t win only made him stronger because they built his network.”

Conway has served as Attorney General for two terms, and lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Rand Paul. He also ran unsuccessfully in 2002 against 3rd District Republican U.S. Rep. Anne Northup.

The only other Democrat on the primary ballot is retired state engineer Geoff Young.


Ending speculation about her immediate political future, former U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says she will run for re-election as Kentucky’s secretary of state. Grimes announced her decision Monday at a press conference in Lexington.

“Today I come before you and I ask you to humbly give that same faith and trust to continue to be your voice. It’s with excitement, it’s with energy that I tell you today I will be filing paperwork for reelection as Kentucky’s Secretary of State.”

Grimes was also considering a run for Kentucky Governor and Attorney General in 2015.

Grimes lost to Sen. Mitch McConnell in a grueling race for his U.S. Senate seat last year. Democrats had initially hoped she would oust McConnell from his seat, which he has held for five terms.

Final polls before the election suggested a close race, however Grimes lost by more than 15 percentage points in the final returns. She won the Democratic primary for that race with 77 percent of the vote.

So far, Grimes is the only Democrat to file to run for Secretary of State. Republican businessman Stephen Knipper has also filed for the position. The filing deadline is Tuesday.

Gubernatorial Candidate Comer Makes it Official

Jan 22, 2015
Jonathan Meador

Republican James Comer says he will officially file for governor Thursday morning.

The first-term agriculture commissioner has been raising money since September along with running mate state Sen. Chris McDaniel from northern Kentucky. But Thursday will mark the official start of his 2015 campaign.

Comer will be the second Republican to file for governor following former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott. Former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner also plans to run but has not officially filed yet.

Attorney General Jack Conway and former congressional candidate Geoff Young are the only Democrats to have filed so far. Candidates have until 4 p.m. Jan. 27 to file for statewide office.

With Kentucky’s gubernatorial primary four months away, candidates are beginning to line up endorsements.

Kentucky’s AFL-CIO chapter officially endorsed Democratic candidate and Attorney General Jack Conway Tuesday. Republican candidate and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has been endorsed by former Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning.

Another GOP candidate, former Louisville Council Member Hal Heiner, this week aired the first television ad of the 2015 election cycle.

The spot touts Heiner’s experience in private business and says he would fight against federal mandatessuch as Obamacare and the Common Core educational standards.

Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott is also running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Secretary of State and former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says she’s considering several options, including running for governor, attorney general , and a second term as Secretary of State.