Auditor Adam Edelen - not a candidate for governor.
Late Tuesday night, June 17, 2014, Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen, announced that he would not run to be Kentucky’s next governor.
Instead, he announced that he will run for re-election in 2015, as Kentucky State Auditor. In follow up comments, Edelen talked of how he wanted to spend more time with his family. With young children by a prior marriage and a new wife, Edelen expressed the desire to not have to make them endure a bitter and disruptive fight for the next 17 months for a race for governor.
Edelen is only 39 years old and can afford to wait for another time for governor. In four or eight years, Kentucky politics will be at an entirely new landscape. It is a good bet that few, if any, names in today’s headlines will be a force in a 2018-2019 governor’s race.
The announcement caught many of his supporters off guard. The progressive arm of what is left of Kentucky’s Democratic Party had high hopes of winning Western, Northern and Central Kentucky through his campaign for Governor.
Details behind the headlines why Edelen made his decision not to run include:
(1) Coming in last place in an unpublicized poll of potential Democratic candidates for governor. Name recognition still low among many rural counties. Sources close to major Democratic law firms in Central Kentucky discussed the poll results in meetings last two weeks.
(2) Having trouble securing a strong running mate for Lt. Governor. Rumor has it that he asked multiple individuals to join him. No takers.
(3) Missing important launch date of early June for jump starting his race for governor. After the Jefferson County School Audit, Bluegrass ADD Audit, City of Covington, the Dayton Board of Education, and the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) audits, political insiders prepared for him to begin running for governor.
(4) Having hard time raising money. When a key money source from Lexington, Ky. defected to the Jack Conway for Governor Team, Edelen lost his money momentum. He would have to raise $3 to 5 million for his campaign.
(5) No “perp walk.” News of most of the important audits Edelen made while in office got lost in the mega drama of Kentucky, national and world events. War, school shootings, massive weather disasters, Congress fighting with the President all consumed the nightly news.
Only Richie Farmer was sent to prison and that audit’s glory had to be shared with Commissioner of Agriculture, James Comer. Edelen’s media team failed to connect hard hitting audits to Kentucky citizens as an economic base realities for their futures.
Edelen announced his decision not to run for governor on Twitter.
"In 2015, I will be a candidate for re-election as State Auditor," he tweeted. "During my tenure as Kentucky's taxpayer watchdog, we have broken new ground. From ferreting out waste and holding corrupt public officials accountable, to the work of making our schools run for the benefit of our children and taxpayers, to ensuring privacy protections in the digital age, I'm proud of what has been accomplished. I look forward to asking the people of Kentucky for a mandate to continue this important, bi-partisan work. I greatly appreciate the expressions of encouragement and support from across the Commonwealth as I explored a race for governor."
Left in the Democratic landscape for possible gubernatorial campaigns are Speaker of the House, Greg Stumbo; Rockey Atkins, former U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Lexington banker Luther Deaton.
The only announced Democratic candidate for governor is Attorney General Jack Conway, of Louisville, and his running mate State Rep. Sannie Overly, of Paris.
Odds on favorite, Republican candidate for governor, is Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer. Other GOP names are Louisville businessman Hal Heiner, with his running mate former Lexington City Councilwoman KC Crosbie.
At this point, Adam Edelen has the luxury of only concentrating on one office, Kentucky State Auditor. This will give him the time to build a firm base with Kentucky voters for the future.