Kentucky Primary Races Set

by Tony McVeigh on January 26, 2011

The filing deadline for public office in Kentucky has officially passed, confirming the lineup for this year’s statewide races. The primary is May 17th.

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There are seven statewide offices on the ballot this year – Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer and Commissioner of Agriculture. And now that Secretary of State Trey Grayson has officially closed the door on filing, the races are set.

The Agriculture Commissioner’s race drew the most candidates, five Democrats and two Republicans. The Democrats are Bob Farmer of Louisville, John Lackey of Richmond, David Williams of Glasgow, Stewart Gritton of Lawrenceburg and B.D. Wilson of Frankfort. The Republicans are Rob Rothenburger of Shelbyville and Rep. James Comer of Tompkinsville.

“I’m a full-time farmer,” said Comer. “I’m a citizen-legislator, as you know. I’ve been a representative for 10 years, but my background is agriculture.”

Three candidates, two Republicans and one Democrat, qualified to run for Auditor of Public Accounts. The Republicans are Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence and John Kemper of Lexington. The Democrat is Adam Edelen of Lexington.

“We’re going to be well-financed,” said Edelen. “We’re going to be well-organized and I’m not going to be outworked in this campaign.”

The State Treasurer’s race features two Democrats and one Republican. Both Democrats – Steve Hamrick and incumbent Treasurer Todd Hollenbach – are from Louisville. The Republican is K.C. Crosbie of Lexington.

“Bills have to be paid, and they invest,” said Crosbie. “And so, it’s a tremendous opportunity,” said Crosbie. “I’ve looked into it. I’ve done a lot of research and I think there’s also a lot of great things that we can do to improve the office.”

Republican Todd P’Pool of Madisonville is running for Attorney General. So is Democratic incumbent Jack Conway, who was defeated by Rand Paul in last year’s grueling U.S. Senate race.

“I certainly took a look on the other side of the fence,” said Conway. “I took a look and tried to envision what my life would be like. How I would serve out a year as AG. What I would want to do after that. And thought about it. And I just made the decision that felt right in my gut.”

Secretary of State Trey Grayson is leaving office early for a job at Harvard University. The governor’s choice to finish Grayson’s term is Elaine Walker of Bowling Green. Walker also wants a full four-year term, but first she must defeat Alison Lundergan Grimes of Lexington in the Democratic primary.

“I’ve worked with the office of Secretary of State regularly and know how to make it work better,” said Grimes. “I think it’s time for a new generation to take the reins for fresh leadership and energy and enthusiasm. And as I travel across the state, I think that’s something that the citizens of the commonwealth will see.”

Also vying for Secretary of State are Republicans Bill Johnson of Elkton and Hilda Legg of Somerset.

In his bid for re-election, Gov. Steve Beshear escaped without Democratic primary opposition, but three Republicans want his job. They are: Senate President David Williams, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw.

“It’s been a blame game,” said Holsclaw. “David Williams blames Steve Beshear. Steve Beshear blames David Williams. And I’ve come to the conclusion, and really what put me over the edge, is the fact – they’re both right. They both are at fault. And I think it’s time for a change. I think it’s time that Kentucky deserves to have the opportunity to speak.”

Holsclaw’s running mate is Bill Vermillion of Caneyville. Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer is running with Senator Williams and Phil Moffett’s running mate is Rep. Mike Harmon of Junction City. Gov. Beshear’s running mate is former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

Gatewood Galbraith of Lexington and his running mate, Dea Riley of Shelbyville, are still collecting signatures for their independent gubernatorial bid.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Otis “Bullman” Hensley of Harlan was a no-show. But Letcher County Democrat Ellis Keyes appeared at the last minute, wanting to run for governor. When told he needed a running mate, he scrambled around the Capitol looking for one, but ran out of time.

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