2019 - it's all about Frankfort and who's going and who's staying
Welcome to the Bridge Year in Kentucky politics!
2019 is going to be a weird year - one without local, legislative and national candidates. It's going to be all about Frankfort and who's going to get an office there.
The Governor's office is the biggest prize on the line. Governor Matt Bevin (GOP) has already announced his intention to run for reelection. He hasn't filed yet and it is unclear whether his current lieutenant governor, Jenean Hampton, will be on the ballot with him.
Democrats are lining up - some loudly, some quietly to challenge him. So far, four candidates have officially announced. Geoff Young, who ran for Congress in 2016 filed to run for governor with running mate Josh French. House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins is making a circuit with his guitar strumming country music to the delight of fans. His most recent appearances were with Bob Osborne and Kentucky Wild Horse.
Kentucky gubernatorial candidates must choose a running mate before they file by April 22, 2019 to participate in the primary on May 21st. Several Dem candidates have done so. Adkins' running mate is Jefferson County School Board member Stephanie Horne
Attorney General Andy Beshear, son of former governor Steve Beshear, chose educator Jacqueline Coleman as his running mate. Beshear jumped out early and began fundraising before the ink of the election of November 2018 was dry. Shown at right, Beshear's roll out of his candidacy in Paducah last summer.
It is widely believed that former state auditor Adam Edelen will choose Gil Holland, a Louisville businessman, as his running mate. Edelen has not made his entry into the race official. A cached website set media atwitter (pun intended) with speculation that he is running. (Duh, of course he is)
Other names have been floated. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn't signaled her intentions. Grimes just gave birth to a baby boy, so most likely is a bit distracted at this writing.
Jefferson County House member Attica Scott was reelected handily and with her seat not on the ballot in 2019, may throw her hat in the ring.
Democrats aren't the only potential challengers to incumbent Bevin. Republicans smell gubernatorial blood in the water. The debacle of the fastest special session in Kentucky history called by Governor Bevin to address the pension system has been laid like a dead mouse at his feet.
Speculation swirls that Western Kentuckian Rep. James Comer will be up for a rematch with Bevin who beat him by a scant 79 votes in the GOP primary of 2015. Like Scott, Comer just won his congressional seat handily. He will have a job in DC if he runs and falls short.
As a member of what is now the minority party in DC, Comer can't be looking forward to the new Congress. Comer had plenty of experience with being in the minority when he served in the Kentucky House before Republicans flipped the House for the first time in most Kentuckians' lifetimes.
Other races on the ballot include state auditor, state treasurer (incumbent Allison Ball has already filed for a second term,) attorney general, and secretary of state, and commissioner of agriculture. Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Auditor Mike Harmon haven't signaled whether they will go for another term.
For the open seats of secretary of state (Grimes is timed out), attorney general, look for a lot of unfamiliar names on the primary ballots in May.