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.
What’s next for Alison Lundergan Grimes? It’s a question some have been asking since the Secretary of State’s loss Tuesday night to incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell. A Bluegrass Poll taken a week before the election suggests voter enthusiasm is tepid with regards to Grimes running for Kentucky governor next year. The poll found 33 percent of respondents wanted her to run. Fifty percent did not and 17 percent said they weren’t sure.
Attorney General Jack Conway is the only Democrat to enter the race so far. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and businessman Hal Heiner have entered the race on the GOP side.
Republican U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield has endorsed James Comer for governor.
Comer, the Republican state agriculture commissioner, is seeking the party's nomination for governor in 2015. Former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner is also seeking the Republican nomination.
In a news release from the Comer campaign, Whitfield said he believes Comer's achievements as agriculture commissioner makes him the candidate with the best chance to take back the governor's office. Democrats have won nine of the last 10 governor's elections.
Whitfield has represented Kentucky's 1st Congressional District since 1994. The district includes the city of Tompkinsville, Comer's home.
Former Republican U.S. Rep. Anne Northup and several state lawmakers also have endorsed Comer.
Attorney General Jack Conway is the only announced Democrat in the race. He has endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, former state Auditor Crit Luallen and Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth.
A new poll suggests the race to decide Kentucky’s next governor, it’s still very much up for grabs.
Data from a recent Bluegrass poll shows a plurality of Kentucky voters have either “no opinion” or are neutral toward three gubernatorial candidates, including Attorney General Jack Conway; former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner; and Agriculture Secretary James Comer, whom is expected to announce his candidacy this weekend at the Fancy Farm political picnic in West Kentucky.
Notably, the poll suggests Conway is trailing Heiner and Comer among African Americans, with a negative favorability rating of eight points.
The poll surveyed 714 registered voters, and reported a margin of error just under 4 percent.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway is concerned about the influence that a conservative 501(c)(4) group could have on Kentucky’s fall elections and beyond.
Americans for Prosperity was founded in 2004, and was led by David Koch of the billionaire, right-wing Koch brothers fame. The group and its network of undisclosed donors spent $40 million in 2010 to wrest control of the U.S. House from Democrats.
And with the recent announcement that the group has hired a director for its Kentucky chapter, Attorney General Conway says he’s concerned that the network of “dark” campaign money will warp Kentucky politics.
“I don’t think we ought to let in Kentucky state politics happen what’s happened at the federal level," said Conway. " Because people raise money for Senate campaign or House campaigns, and all of a sudden the corporate interests come in in the end and outspend what the individuals raised, and they treat the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives like it’s members are just nothing more than pawns in a larger corporate game.”
Citing a need to be with his family, Democratic Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen has declared he won't run for governor next year.
Speculation was rampant that Edelen would enter the contest, but he quelled it with an announcement Wednesday.
“My wife and my sons were all gung-ho for me to run, but at the end of the day I made the determination that I’d rather spend the next year-and-a-half coaching little league and catching crooks and running for re-election than I would worrying about my name ID in a governor’s race,” said Edelen
Attorney General Jack Conway is currently the only Democrat seeking the governor's office.
Edelen says he is withholding any endorsements until more candidates enter the race.
But he thinks Conway will benefit from greater name recognition among voters. Republican Hal Heiner of Louisville is the only Republican to announce a gubernatorial candidacy so far.
Edelen says he is “absolutely” considering running for governor in the future.
Former Kentucky state auditor Crit Luallen says she will not run for governor in 2015.
Luallen has been mentioned as a possible Democratic contender as Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear finishes his second term.
In a written statement, Luallen said Thursday she is passionate about Kentucky's future but decided not to run because it was the best decision for her family.
Luallen's decision could open the door for Attorney General Jack Conway, a Luallen ally, to seek the Democratic nomination. Current state Auditor Adam Edelen is also considering running for governor. Republican Hal Heiner is the only person to officially announce as a candidate.
Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo has asked Democrats to delay their candidacies until after the November elections, in which Alison Lundergan Grimes is running for U.S. Senate and Democrats are trying to keep control of the state House of Representatives.
A prominent Republican says former Louisville councilman Hal Heiner will kick off his campaign for Governor Tuesday in Lexington, joining with another urban Republican for his running mate.
Former state GOP chairman Bob Gable says Heiner will introduce former Lexington-Fayette County Councilwoman KC Crosbie as his running mate. Crosbie ran for state treasurer in 2011, narrowly losing to Democratic incumbent Todd Hollenbach. Gable said Crosbie is an excellent campaigner and said Heiner's selection of her for the ticket is "ingenious."
Gable says he believes Heiner will be the Republican nominee for Governor and that he showed his vote-getting ability in the 2010 mayoral race in Louisville. Heiner lost a hard fought campaign in that 2010 race and also served two terms on the Louisville Metro Council.