By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Do not interpret former Democratic state Auditor’s Crit Luallen’s absence at this weekend’s Fancy Farm picnic as a sign she is not interested in running for governor in 2015.
Luallen said Wednesday in a telephone interview that she still is considering a possible bid for governor but will not be able to attend Fancy Farm political events this year because of recent knee surgery.
She said she hopes to decide by the end of this year whether to run for governor.
The annual picnic on the grounds of St. Jerome Catholic Church in Graves County will host a program of political speaking on Saturday afternoon. This year’s picnic will be highlighted by the 2014 U.S. Senate race.
Luallen said she will miss this year’s picnic because she is recovering well from a full knee replacement on June 27 but still is receiving physical therapy.
“The focus at the picnic and next year should be on the U.S. Senate race,” said Luallen. “I hope to be helpful to Alison Lundergan Grimes.” Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state, is trying to unseat Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.
Luallen repeated that she is not interested in running for lieutenant governor.
“I have more experience in government than anyone who is thinking about running for governor,” she said. “Lieutenant governor is not an option for me.”
Luallen has been in public service since 1974, starting with her work in Gov. Wendell Ford’s campaign for U.S. Senate. She has worked in a variety of state government roles, including cabinet secretary for Gov. Paul Patton. She was elected state auditor in 2003 and 2007, and garnered headlines for her watchdog efforts involving the Kentucky League of Cities, Kentucky Association of Counties and many others.
Since leaving state office last year, Luallen has made dozens of public speeches and appearances across the state, supported the campaigns of several Democratic candidates and joined the boards of five organizations: Centre College in Danville, Community Trust Bank in Pikeville, the Kentucky Cancer Foundation, the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation.
Other Democrats besides Luallen who are being mentioned for the 2015 governor’s race include Attorney General Jack Conway, current state Auditor Adam Edelen, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and former Congressman Ben Chandler.
Abramson has said he plans to say by mid-August whether he will be a candidate.
State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is frequently mentioned as a Republican candidate for governor. U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, has said he will not run for governor in 2015.
Filed Under: Crit Luallen