Aug. 15, 2012 — Various news media accounts of this month’s political picnic at Fancy Farm in far Western Kentucky said at least two politicians were testing the waters for a run for governor in 2015.
Former state auditor Crit Luallen and U. S. Rep. Ben Chandler, both of whom live in Central Kentucky, were surprisingly candid when asked if they were considering the race to succeed Steve Beshear who cannot seek a third term.
A “sidebar” in journalism is an article related to a major story and usually displayed adjacent to it.
At Fancy Farm, the fact that only a handful of Democrats elected to speak made the activity of two gubernatorial hopefuls a sidebar to the main stage comments of House Speaker Greg Stumbo and U. S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Stumbo bashed the candidacy of Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, and McConnell returned the favor by attacking Obama’s efforts to seek a second term.
Media pundits said for a week prior and in covering the actual event that high profile Democrats would avoid Fancy Farm because they didn’t want to be identified with President Obama whose unpopularity in Kentucky is widely known.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Stumbo were the only notable Democrats to take the stage at the 132-year-old event to benefit a local church.
Grimes, very likely a future candidate for the state’s top office, talked only about her duties as the state’s chief election officer, a safe topic.
Luallen, who was a key player in two Paul Patton administrations, served two terms as state auditor and built a sterling reputation for exposing fraud and mismanagement in public agencies, most notably the Lexington airport and the Kentucky League of Cities.
Chandler, on the other hand, narrowly won reelection two years ago as the Lexington area’s congressman.
Despite his famous political name in Kentucky – Albert Benjamin Chandler III – the grandson of former governor Happy Chandler is facing another tough race to remain in Congress.
Stumbo most likely will surface as a potential candidate for governor in 2015 but his fortunes may be tied to whether or not the Democrats retain control of the Kentucky House.
Down ticket voting in this fall’s presidential election could be critical to that outcome with the Democrats holding only a 10-vote majority, 55-45.
As speculation continues about Kentucky’s next governor, we expect State Rep. Rocky Adkins to receive serious, well-deserved consideration.
In our opinion, he is as solid as his name.