]By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Saying Kentuckians are “so disgusted with the status quo” in Frankfort, Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith turned in 7,396 signatures with the secretary of state’s office Thursday morning to become an independent candidate in this year’s race for governor.
Galbraith, a Lexington attorney, needed 5,000 signatures to get on the Nov. 8 ballot with his running mate, Dea Riley, a Frankfort marketing consultant.
Mary Sue Helm, with the secretary of state’s office, said a few hours later that 7,094 of the signatures were certified with all necessary information and that Galbraith and Riley were official candidates.
Any opposing candidate or registered Kentucky voter could challenge the signatures, but Helm said they appear in order for filing to run. Galbraith and Riley paid the $500 filing fee.
This marks the fifth time Galbraith has run for governor. He garnered 15.3 percent of the vote when he ran as a Reform candidate in 1999. He also has run for agriculture commissioner, U.S. representative and attorney general.
Galbraith, 64, said he has no concerns about being a perennial candidate. “Kentucky has perennial problems,” he said.
Riley, 43, is making her first bid for public office.
Galbraith is widely known for his support of legalizing and regulating marijuana. But he called that issue “passé” Thursday and said he is concentrating on other issues like tax reform.
Campaigns of the two other candidates for governor – Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Republican Senate President David Williams – had no comment on Galbraith’s campaign.
Galbraith said his chances are “50-50” to win this year’s election. He said his candidacy is more likely to hurt Williams because he is a conservative and the Tea Party movement in Kentucky has no where else to turn.
He said he is disappointed with President Obama and believes he is moving this country towards socialism.
On the controversial issue of mountaintop removal to mine coal, Galbraith said he opposes the practice.
Asked about the millions Beshear and Williams will have for their campaigns, Galbraith said he will have enough.
“If your vote is not for sale, what difference does it make how much money the other person has?” he asked, adding that “word-of-mouth will be huge in this race” and that he will be campaigning every day.
Riley said she decided to be Galbraith’s running mate “because he’s right on the issues.”
She said she knows all three candidates and that “Gatewood is the pick of the litter “and has the best plan for the economy with tax reforms.
Galbraith said recent governors, including Beshear, have not had close working relationships with their lieutenant governors.
“I can’t think of a reason why we won’t be able to work as a team,” he said.