FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear will not have an opponent in the May Democratic primary for governor, but Republican frontrunner and state Senate President David Williams will have two opponents.
Tuesday was the filing deadline to run for the state constitutional offices on the May 17 ballot.
In the Republican primary race, Williams and running mate Agricultural Commissioner Richie Farmer will face Jefferson County Clerk Barbara “Bobbie” Holsclaw and retired Navy officer and Jefferson County teacher Bill Vermillion Jr. Also on the Republican ticket is Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman, who is running with state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville.
Williams is the front-runner in both name recognition and fundraising. Williams and Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball player, have reportedly raised more than $753,196. Moffett has reported raising $53,000.
David Adams, Moffett’s campaign manager, said Tuesday that Williams and Farmer will not have any easy primary despite their lead in fundraising.
“Campaigning against David Williams in a Republican primary provides a Tea Party candidate like Phil Moffett a target-rich environment,” Adams said. “Phil has already made great progress in only five months of campaigning, and he owes much of his early success to David Williams’ awful record on debt and spending.”
Scott Jennings, campaign manger for Williams, said that Williams and Farmer have no problem running on their records.
“David Williams has a long record of cutting taxes, stopping Steve Beshear from raising taxes, and of keeping a billion dollars in debt out of the budget,” Jennings said.” We look forward to running a positive campaign built on the strong conservative records of Williams and Farmer, and on their bold agenda for the future.”
Holsclaw was the only candidate to file on Tuesday. Holsclaw said after filing her paperwork that she knows that the Republican primary for the state’s top office will be tough.
“I know I’m the underdog, and I realize I have an uphill battle,” Holsclaw said.
No candidates filed against Beshear and running mate and former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.
Beshear and Abramson, who announced their ticket in 2009, have amassed a campaign war chest of $3.5 million.
Lexington lawyer Gatewood Galbraith and media consultant Dea Riley have also said they will run for governor. The two are collecting signatures to run as independents.
But Democrats had a tough time in the November 2010 elections. Republican unknown and Tea Party candidate Rand Paul beat two seasoned state politicians — Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson — and Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat, to win an open U.S. Senate seat.
Republicans also made gains in both the state House and state Senate in November.
Matt Erwin, a spokesman for Kentucky Democratic Party, said he believes that the statewide elections in 2011 will be different.
“This is a completely different electorate,” Erwin said of the upcoming statewide races. “People in Kentucky are very comfortable electing Democrats. I think that people are anxious to talk about Kentucky, which wasn’t mentioned in the last election cycle. The 2010 elections are over.”
Steve Robertson, chairman of the Kentucky Republican Party, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Agricultural commissioner: The most crowded race on the May17 ballot is for Agricultural Commissioner, the office that oversees agricultural policy in Kentucky. Farmer is vacating the position.
On the Republican side, Rep. Jamie Comer, a state legislator from Tompkinsville and a farmer, will face Rob Rothenburger, the Shelby County Judge Executive and farmer. Five Democrats have filed for the office: Robert “Bob” Farmer, of Louisville, Stewart Gritton of Lawrenceburg, John Faris Lackey of Richmond, David Williams of Glasgow and B.D. Wilson of Frankfort.
Secretary of state: One of the most-watched races in May primary will be the Democratic primary for secretary of state.
Grayson announced this month that he would not finish the remaining 11 months of his term and was taking a position at Harvard University. Beshear appointed Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker to fill out the rest of Grayson’s term. Walker filed to run for the office but will face Lexington lawyer Allison Lundergan Grimes in the Democratic primary.
Lundergan Grimes has been backed by some of the most influential members of the Democratic Party and is the daughter of a former state Democratic Party chairman.
Republicans in the secretary of state race include Bill Johnson, a Todd County businessman and Hilda Legg, a former agricultural official.
State auditor: Two Republicans have filed to run for state auditor: state Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence and John T. Kemper, a Lexington developer. The winner of that primary will face Adam Edelen, Beshear’s former chief of staff. Edelen has no opposition in the primary.
Attorney general: Conway will have no opponent in the primary for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. He will face Hopkins County Attorney Todd P’Pool in the November election. P’Pool is the only Republican to file to run for the office.
State treasurer: KC Crosbie, a Lexington councilwoman, will have no opposition in the Republican primary for state treasurer. But Todd Hollenbach, the Democratic incumbent, will face Steve Hamrick, a Hopkinsville business owner and media consultant, in the May primary.