Rocky Adkins

Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s candidates for governor are in the home stretch of their campaigns ahead of Tuesday’s primary election. Democrat Rocky Adkins was pressing the flesh on Friday in Bowling Green.

The former basketball standout at Morehead State University worked the tables at Teresa’s Restaurant telling the breakfast crowd it’s the last three minutes of the game and his team has momentum.  

Adkins has spent more than three decades in the Kentucky House, 13 as majority leader and the past three years as minority leader. 

The state representative from Sandy Hook said he’s the only Democrat in the race who can beat Republican Governor Matt Bevin in November.

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With one week until the primary election, Kentucky’s Democratic candidates for governor made their pitches for why they should be their party’s nominee during a debate on KET Monday night.

It’s the third televised event during this year’s race to see who will take on the winner of the Republican primary, which includes incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin and three Republican challengers. Democrats will participate in two more televised forums this week.

All three Democratic candidates voiced support for increasing state revenue to provide more money for state programs like public education, Medicaid and the state worker pension system, but candidates differed on how they would do it.

flickr/Theresa Thompson

A record number of Kentucky residents are registered to vote in the May 21 primary election. 

The Kentucky Secretary of State’s office reports that 3,421,796 Kentuckians are registered to vote in the upcoming primary.

That’s 18,891 more registered voters than in the General Election  in 2018.

Looking at the breakdown by political party, Democratic voters represent about 49 percent of the electorate, with about 1,684,200 voters.

J. Tyler Franklin

Rocky Adkins is one of four Democrats running for Kentucky governor this year. He has served in the state legislature since 1987 and was the powerful majority floor leader in the Kentucky House of Representatives until Republicans won control of the chamber two years ago.

Hailing from rural eastern Kentucky, Adkins has worked in the coal industry and is currently the president of RJA Enterprises, a company that does “project development” for companies in the energy and transportation fields.


Rhonda J. Miller

With Kentucky’s primary election just three weeks away, Democratic candidate for governor Rocky Adkins described himself as an experienced, moderate legislator during a May 1 presentation at the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club.

State Representative Rocky Adkins is pushing to differentiate himself from his two strongest rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor, Attorney General Andy Beshear and former State Auditor Adam Edelen.

Adkins is emphasizing his centrist stances on issues, especially those that might appeal to the state’s more conservative Democrats. 


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Kentucky’s Democratic candidates for governor participated in the first televised debate of the campaign season Wednesday night. They argued over issues like abortion, how to generate more revenue for the state and who has the best chance to beat incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear, is trying to maintain his front-runner status in the race while former auditor Adam Edelen and longtime state Rep. Rocky Adkins search for a path to victory.

Ryland Barton

With about a month to go before Kentucky’s primary elections, all three major Democratic candidates for governor appeared together on stage for the first time on Thursday.

During a forum held by Louisville’s Rotary Club, candidates differed only slightly in their stances on a wide range of issues including preserving Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion, shoring up public education and allowing casino gambling to generate revenue for the state’s ailing pension systems.

Jacob Ryan

Democrat Adam Edelen said that if he is elected governor of Kentucky, he’ll push to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Edelen said Kentucky’s marijuana laws have put strains on families and taxpayers and are disproportionately used against minorities.

In a news conference Monday, Edelen called for eliminating criminal penalties for possessing less than a half-ounce of marijuana.

Rocky Adkins Files to Run for Governor in Kentucky

Jan 24, 2019
Kentucky LRC

Making a direct appeal to blue-collar workers, longtime legislator Rocky Adkins portrayed himself Thursday as the Democrat best able to win back support in rural Kentucky as the former college basketball player officially filed to run for governor this year.

Despite spending more than three decades in the Kentucky legislature, Adkins acknowledged that he's viewed by some as an underdog candidate. The May Democratic primary includes two other candidates who have won statewide races.

LRC Public Information

A new state lawmaker from eastern Kentucky has become the first Republican to formally launch a campaign for governor as speculation continues over whether Gov. Matt Bevin will run for re-election.

In an announcement Tuesday morning, Rep. Robert Goforth of East Bernstadt criticized Bevin’s character and stance on issues.

“I’m not a New England transplant using the people of Kentucky to feed my ego or audition for a job in Washington D.C.,” Goforth said. “Rather, I empathize with millions of my fellow Kentuckians. I understand and I respect you because I am you.”

Jacob Ryan

Former State Auditor Adam Edelen is the third Democrat to launch a bid for Kentucky governor.

During an announcement in Lexington, Edelen said as governor he would focus on fixing the state’s public education system, protecting health coverage and generating new revenue for the state’s cash-strapped budget.

Edelen depicted himself as a new direction for Kentucky Democrats, saying that he is an alternative to “the stale scent of incrementalism and nostalgia.”

Edelen Strategic Ventures

Speculation that former State Auditor Adam Edelen will run for Kentucky governor continues to grow after the back door to his gubernatorial campaign website was left open on Wednesday.

The test-version of the website included the text “Adam Edelen for Governor” and “Edelen Holland 2019” and was quickly shut down after pictures of the page began circulating on social media.

The page also included an embedded YouTube video of Hall & Oates’ hit 1977 single, “Rich Girl.”

Rhonda J. Miller

While some may still be catching their breath after the midterm election, candidates in the 2019 race for Kentucky governor are off and running. Democrat Rocky Adkins was at a union hall in Owensboro on the morning of Nov. 20, followed by an afternoon stop at a restaurant in Bowling Green.

Representative Rocky Adkins said his 31 years in the state legislature, including serving as minority floor leader, and his common sense approach to finding  solutions make him a strong candidate in what’s looking like a competitive Democratic primary in May.

Kentucky House Leader Files to Raise Money for Governor

Nov 12, 2018
Kentucky LRC

The minority floor leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives has filed paperwork to raise money for a campaign for governor, setting up a potentially spirited Democratic primary in 2019 to challenge Republican incumbent Matt Bevin.

State Rep. Rocky Adkins and running mate Stephanie Horne are listed on the website of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance for the May 21, 2019, primary. Adkins is scheduled to make a "special announcement" Wednesday in Morehead, Kentucky. Adkins declined to comment Monday through a spokeswoman.

Beshear, Adkins Use Fancy Farm as Test for 2019

Aug 6, 2017
Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Andy Beshear says he has not decided if he will run for governor in 2019, but his tax returns tell a different story.

Kentucky's Democratic attorney general publicly released his 2016 tax returns on statewide television Saturday during the 137th annual Fancy Farm picnic. And while he challenged the state's other lawmakers to do the same, most saw it as a challenge to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has steadfastly refused to release his income tax returns despite years of precedent.

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