Friday, January 30, 2015

Here's Who's Running for Governor, Other Statewide Offices This Year in Kentucky

Six state level offices are up for reelection in 2015./CC

Six state level offices are up for election in 2015 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the deadline to file for May's primary elections was Tuesday.

Here's a run-down of who is running for Kentucky's next Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, State Auditor, and Commissioner of Agriculture, followed by a brief history of Kentucky's first two governors, Isaach Shelby and James Garrard.

The capitol building stands to have quite the roster change-up, as only two incumbents are running for reelection.

indicates incumbent

Governor/Lt. Governor (Democrat)

- Jack Conway/Sannie Overly

- Geoffrey M. "Geoff" Young/Johnathan D. Masters


Governor/Lt. Governor (Republican)

- Matt Bevin/Jenean Hampton

- James R. Comer/Chris McDaniel

- Hal Heiner/K.C. Crosbie

- Will T. Scott/Rodney Coffey


Secretary of State (Democrat)

- Allison Lundergan Grimes*

- Charles Lovett


Secretary of State (Republican)

- Stephen L. Knipper

- Michael Pitzer


Attorney General (Democrat - no primary)

- Andy Beshear


Attorney General (Republican)

- Michael T. Hogan

- Whitney H. Westerfield


Auditor of Public Accounts (Democrat - no primary)

- Adam H. Edelen*


Auditor of Public Accounts (Republican - no primary)

- Mike Harmon


State Treasurer (Democrat)

- Neville Blakemore

- Jim Glenn

- Daniel B. Grossberg

- Richard Henderson

- Rick Nelson


State Treasurer (Republican)

- Allison Ball

- Kenneth Churchill Imes

- Jon Larson


Commissioner of Agriculture (Democrat - no primary)

- Jean-Marie Lawson Spann


Commissioner of Agriculture (Republican)

- Richard Heath

- Ryan F. Quarles


Kentucky's First Governor: Isaac Shelby
by Paul Whalen

Isaac Shelby (in office 1792-1796, 1812-1816)
Like the nation, Kentucky chose a war hero and someone whose name would be used for cities and counties throughout the United States to be its first Chief Executive. General Isaac Shelby was the hero of the Battle of King’s Mountain during the Revolutionary War. (King’s Mountain is near Blacksburg, South Carolina.) Shelby was unanimously elected Kentucky’s first Kentucky’s first Governor by the “electors” as set forth in the First Constitution of Kentucky two weeks prior to Kentucky’s admission to the Union on June 1, 1792 as the 15th State.

Shelby was born near Hagerstown, Maryland in December 11, 1750.  Prior to moving to Kentucky, he lived in western Virginia near present-day Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee. He initially came to Kentucky due to 1,400 acre land grant in the late 1770s.

In addition to his military service, Shelby had served in the legislatures of Virginia and North Carolina.

The capitol building in which Shelby was elected Kentucky’s first governor was a log cabin located just south of present day Rupp Arena on Lexington’s Main Street. Shelby’s first term issues concerned choosing a permanent state capital and protecting Kentucky from Indian attacks and financing the militia which provided that protection. In December 1792, Frankfort was chosen as Kentucky’s state capital.

During the last year of Shelby's term he authorized the widened of the Wilderness Road from Cumberland Gap to Crab Orchard (most of which is now US 25 E). The purpose was to allow better access for wagon travel. Daniel Boone in February 1796 unsuccessfully sought the contract which was awarded to James Knox and Joseph Crockett. (Daniel Boone by Michael A. Lofaro)
There was dissatisfaction with the Kentucky's 1792 Constitution due to the opposition to the use of the Kentucky "Electoral College" which elected the Governor and members of the Kentucky State Senate rather than the popular vote. This was one of the reasons for the adoption of the KY Constitution of 1799.

After serving his first term, Shelby was elected to another term in 1812.


Kentucky's Second Governor: James Garrard
by Paul Whalen

James Garrard (in office 1796-1804)
Kentucky's second Governor could be considered by some as one of the most tolerant persons who ever served in public office. As Governor he pardoned a slave who was accused of poisoning his food. A veteran of the American Revolution, he served both as a sailor and as a soldier. Colonel James Garrard was a planter and member of the Virginia House of Delegates prior to moving to Kentucky.

As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates he was responsible for legislation providing for religious liberty for citizens of Virginia.

Garrard was an active Baptist minister who helped found many churches in Central Kentucky as well as being a well-known maker of Bourbon Whiskey. He was a resident of Bourbon County. He was a farmer and owned 35,000 acres. As a Baptist minister he advocated religious tolerance and even Unitarian ideas. He was an early opponent of slavery. He attempted to include language in Kentucky's First (1792) and Second (1799) Constitutions which abolished slavery.
Prior to his election as Kentucky's second governor, he helped organize and establish Bourbon County where he served in several public offices including surveyor and magistrate. During Garrard's two terms he signed legislation creating 26 Kentucky counties including his namesake county of Garrard.  (Garrard Street in Covington is named for Gov. Garrard)

One of the major issues of Garrard's first term was the State Constitution. This was reflected in Garrard's election in 1796. There were four men who were candidates including Garrard. The other three were Benjamin Logan, Thomas Todd and John Brown. The State Constitution of 1792 required an electoral college (similar to the US Electoral College) to elect the Governor as well as members of the State Senate.

The "electoral college" was called into question when the "electoral college" took two to ballots to elect James Garrard. During the first ballot Logan received 21 votes, Garrard 17, Todd 14 and Brown 1. The Constitution of 1792 seemed to require the winning candidate for governor to have the majority votes of the electors and not a plurality. There was a second ballot as Garrard and the two other candidates received a total of 32 votes to Logan's 21 votes. During the second ballot Garrard received a majority of the electoral votes. This resulted in a protest by Logan which did not overturn the decision of the second ballot electing Garrard.

In August 1799, delegates from Kentucky's 25 counties after meeting in Frankfort adopted the Second Constitution of Kentucky. That Constitution abolished the "electoral college" and provided for the direct election of the Governor and Lt. Governor (1st Constitution did not provide for Lt. Gov.).

James Garrard was the only person prior to Paul Patton to serve two consecutive four year terms as governor. Garrard was so popular that the drafters of the Second Constitution made a provision which allowed him to serve a term under the Second Constitution. Thus, James Garrard became the first Kentucky Governor elected by popular vote.


- Staff report


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