by Stu Johnson, Kentucky Public Radio
The selection process to choose a running mate in the race for Kentucky governor would change under legislation filed by a central Kentucky lawmaker. Current law requires candidates to choose their lieutenant governors before entering the primary race. Danville representative Mike Harmon wants to give candidates until after the May primary to select running mates.
“If we do that it allows someone to run for governor without a lieutenant governor until after the primary there by maybe allowing for two strong candidates to run that fall,” he says.
Harmon says this proposal is not a direct response to the David Williams-Richie Farmer ticket in last year’s election. There were a number of media reports about spending issues within Farmer’s agriculture commissioner office, and the Republican ticket was soundly defeated by incumbent Steve Beshear and running mate Jerry Abramson.
Harmon’s bill also bans lobbyists from contributing to any candidate for governor, lieutenant governor, or their campaigns. Harmon says he believes lobbyists’ power of persuasion may be exaggerated a bit.
“I don’t think they have quite the influence that most people think,” he says. “You know I’m sure they have some influence. I’ve always said that my door is open to anybody whether they give me money or not.”
Harmon says he proposed similar legislation in a previous general assembly session.