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Here’s Who’s Running For Kentucky Governor And Other Offices


The field is set for this year’s partisan statewide races for Kentucky governor and other constitutional offices like attorney general and secretary of state.

Four Democrats and four Republicans filed to run for governor, including incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin.

There will be three primary elections that don’t have challengers this year — former Attorney General Greg Stumbo is the only Democrat vying for his old seat and Republican Treasurer Allison Ball and Republican Auditor Mike Harmon are running for re-election without primary challengers.

The primary elections will take place on May 21. Independent candidates have until April 1 to file to run for statewide office.

Here’s a rundown of who’s running for what:

Governor/ Lieutenant Governor

Bevin filed to run for re-election last Friday after he announced he would not run with current Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, instead tapping state Sen. Ralph Alvarado to be his running mate.

In the Republican primary, Bevin and Alvarado will face the state Rep. Robert Goforth of East Berndstadt, Ike Lawrence of Lexington and William Woods of Corinth.

Goforthis a pharmacist and drug store owner first elected to the legislature last year and is challenging Bevin’s stance on pension issues. His running mate is Doug Hogan, an attorney from Lawrence County.

Lawrence unsuccessfully ran to be mayor of Lexington this year and his running mate is James Anthony Rose. Woods ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the state House of Representatives in 2012, his running mate is Justin Miller of Florence.

Democratic slates in the race are state Attorney General Andy Beshear, longtime state Rep. Rocky Adkins, former state auditor Adam Edelen, and retired engineer Geoff Young.

Beshear is the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear. First elected to be Kentucky’s top legal officer at the same time as Bevin was elected governor in 2015, Beshear has repeatedly sued Bevin over a variety of executive orders and measures signed into law over the past three years. His running mate is Jacqueline Coleman, a high school administrator in Mercer County.

Adkins is the minority leader in the Kentucky House of Representatives and has been a vocal opponent of Republican policies passed out of the legislature. His running mate is Stephanie Horne, a Louisville attorney and former Louisville school board member.

Edelen served as state auditor from 2011 until 2015 when he lost re-election to current Republican Auditor Mike Harmon. He also served as chief of staff to former Gov. Beshear from 2008 to 2010. His running mate is Gill Holland, a Louisville film maker and developer.

Holland is also a board member of Louisville Public Media, which is the parent organization of WFPL News. He is on leave from the board for the entirety of the campaign, per LPM policy.

Young is a retired engineer for the state and perennial candidate for elected office. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional district last year. His running mate is Josh French.

Attorney General

Republicans are hoping to take control of the state attorney general’s office for the first time since 1947 after Beshear announced he would run for governor.

Daniel Cameron, a former aide to Mitch McConnell and U of L football player, and state Sen. Wil Schroder are seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general.

The winner will face former Attorney General Greg Stumbo — the only Democrat running for the office.


Current Republican treasurer Allison Ball does not have any primary challengers.

Two Democrats have filed to run for the office — former Louisville Metro Council staffer Michael Bowman and Josh Mers, treasurer for the Lexington Human Rights Commission.


Current Republican state Auditor Mike Harmon does not have any primary challengers.

Four Democrats have filed to run for auditor — Louisville teacher Kelsey Hayes Coots, former Navy engineer Sheri Donahue of Louisville, founder Drew Curtis of Versailles and financial consultant Chris Tobe of Anchorage.

Curtis ran for Kentucky governor in 2015 as an independent candidate.

Agriculture Commissioner

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles will face hemp producer Bill Polyniak in the Republican primary.

Shortly before the 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday, two Democrats filed to run for agriculture commissioner: Glasgow City Councilman Joe Trigg and Haley Conway, a member of the Scott County school board.

Secretary of State

The race to replace term-limited Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will be a crowded race, with four Republicans and four Democrats vying for the office.

Democrats include former Commissioner of Veterans Affairs and former Miss America Heather French Henry, Jason Belcher of Harold, Jason Griffith of Whitesburg and Geoff Sebesta of Lexington.

Republican candidates are former McConnell aide Michael Adams, former Kentucky Justice Cabinet general counsel Andrew English of Crestwood, former Erlanger City Councilman Stephen Knipper and Carl Nett of Louisville.

This story has been updated.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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