A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Democrat Edelen to run for governor; Republican legislator Robert Goforth to challenge Bevin

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Former State Auditor Adam Edelen made official his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor on Monday and two Republicans are planning a run for the nomination against Gov. Matt Bevin.

Standing with his wife and family, Edelen said he hoped to usher in a new era of leadership and innovation and an administration committed to rebuilding the economic, physical and environmental health of Kentucky, and that the days of Kentucky being beholden to the past are over.

“Together, with the help and hard work of every Kentuckian, we are going to begin writing the next bright chapter in the story of our commonwealth,” Edelen said. “I’m asking you to join us as and push back against the voices who have told us Kentucky’s best days are behind us and rediscover our God-given ability to lead. That’s the Kentucky I believe we can build together and I’m humbled and honored to ask the opportunity to work for you.”

Edelen made the announcement with running mate Gill Holland, a Louisville businessman. He becomes the fourth Democrat to declare for the race, setting up a rousing campaign season ahead of the May 21 primary. The winner will likely square off against Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has said he will seek a second term but has yet to make it official.

After Edelen was defeated for re-election as auditor in 2015, he began working on renewable energy projects, with a focus on harnessing Kentucky’s historic expertise in energy to meet changing technologies. One of his largest projects includes bringing into reality the biggest solar installation in Appalachia, to be built by out-of-work coal miners on a mountaintop removal site.

Holland, Edelen’s running mate, says he hopes to bring the experience he had in revitalizing Louisville’s NuLu neighborhood, to Main Streets across Kentucky.

 “I’m excited about the opportunity to offer Kentuckians a real chance to help build the Kentucky our people deserve,” Holland said.

Edelen will not accept any money from political action committees, or PACs, saying he is committed to running a campaign powered by the people of Kentucky and not special interests.

Other candidates in the race for the Democrat nomination include Attorney General Andy Beshear, House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins and Geoff Young, a former state employee who has run for governor before.

Robert Goforth

Bevin will have some competition, too, if and when he officially becomes a candidate.

State Rep. Robert Goforth of East Bernstadt made his announcement on Tuesday and Williams Woods filed a letter of intent with the Registry of Election Finance.

Rep.Goforth of East Bernstadt has been in the House less than a year, winning a special election Feb. 27, 2018, to succeed Marie Rader, who resigned for health reasons in the 89th House District, which includes Jackson and parts of Laurel and Madison counties.  He won election to a full term in November.

Goforth, a graduate of the University of Kentucky Pharmacy School, once owned some pharmacies in his district, but says he is now working full-time for Project DARIS, Drug Awareness Resources in Schools.

According to the website, Goforthforky.com, his running mate will be Mike Hogan, who is in his fifth term as Lawrence County Attorney.  

Hogan also unsuccessfully ran for the GOP nomination for attorney general against Sen. Whitney Westerfield of Crofton in 2015. Westerfield was narrowly defeated by Democrat Andy Beshear in November 2015.

Another Republican slate, consisting of William Woods and Justin Miller, has filed a letter of intent with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance that allows them to begin fundraising.  Woods, who lives in Union, unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for the 66th District House seat in 2012.

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