Matt Jones, founder and host of Kentucky Sports Radio, announced on his show Monday morning that he will not run for Congress next year against U.S. Rep. Andy Barr.
Jones told his listeners that the decision was difficult, and he wants to run for office in the future.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began recruiting Jones in June to run against Barr, and Jones said he informed them Monday morning of his decision.
“It was difficult for me because it was, I think, a winnable race, but it was also something I’ve always had a passion to do, which is public service,” Jones said.
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Ultimately, I just sort of looked in the mirror and decided I wasn’t quite ready to give that up.
Matt Jones, founder and co-host of Kentucky Sports Radio, on why he decided not to run for Congress
The Middlesboro native cited several factors that influenced his decision not to run next year, including timing, the focus on fundraising that would be required and his desire not to give up his personal life.
“I love what I do here,” Jones said. “This has been a great gig. We created this from nothing.
“Ultimately, I just sort of looked in the mirror and decided I wasn’t quite ready to give that up.”
Jones left the door open to a run in the future, though, saying it was something he has long wanted to do.
“I will do something at some point, but now is not that point,” he said.
Ryan Lemond, Jones’ co-host on the show, joked that he and others on the program were grateful to still have jobs.
“Those that are close to you, we all know how much you struggled with this, and we all know how much it was weighing on you,” Lemond said. “No matter which way you went, we were going to support you and be happy for you.”
Jones’ decision is yet more bad news for Democrats who are searching for viable candidates to run next year against incumbent Republicans in Kentucky.
It’s unclear who, if anybody, will step up to challenge Barr next year.
In a statement, the National Republican Congressional Committee described Jones as the Democratic Party’s “last, best and only” hope in the 6th District.
“Democrats were already in disarray all across the Bluegrass State, and this latest recruiting failure only pushes them further from relevance,” committee spokesman Chris Pack said.