When Stephanie Horne entered her first political contest in 2014 for a seat on Jefferson County’s Board of Education, a local publication used this headline to announce her candidacy: “Andrew Horne’s Wife Running for School Board.”
Truth be told, more people in the area probably knew Andrew Horne than his wife, who had kept a behind-the-scenes profile as an attorney, businesswoman and volunteer in her two sons’ schools, church and various civic groups.
Andrew Horne, an attorney and retired U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Lieutenant Colonel, had run unsuccessfully in the 2006 Democratic primary for Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District and again in the 2007 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate to unseat Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell. Horne dropped out of the race in February 2008.
Now, Stephanie Horne is entering her own statewide political race. State House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins made it official Wednesday in an announcement in Morehead that she will be his lieutenant governor running mate in his 2019 race to become Kentucky’s next governor.
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“I’m honored that Rocky Adkins has invited me to join him as he stands up to fight for our commonwealth and build a better Kentucky” Stephanie Horne said.
Attorney General Andy Beshear already has announced his candidacy for governor with running mate Jacqueline Coleman, a Nelson County coach and teacher. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has said he will seek re-election but has not said if he will keep Jenean M. Hampton of Bowling Green as his running mate.
Louisville political consultant Danny Briscoe, who is not associated with any campaign for governor and lieutenant governor, said Horne brings several pluses to Adkins’ efforts.
“First, she’s female. She is a successful businesswoman with a title company, she’s a lawyer, she’s very smart with a well-rounded, energetic and fearless personality,” Briscoe said. “She also is quite aware of the issues surrounding education, serving on the board for the state’s largest school system.”
The disadvantage Horne brings is “one that will affect several others — never having run before for a statewide office,” he said.
“It’s more complicated than one might think to run a race in all of Kentucky’s 120 counties,” said Briscoe, who has worked on several gubernatorial campaigns. “Every county wants you to be there in person. It can get problematic.”
Democratic state Sen. Gerald Neal of Louisville, who met Horne a few months ago when speculation arose that she would be Adkins’ running mate, said she “makes a good first impression” and described her as “bright and energetic.” Neal has not yet made an endorsement in next year’s race for governor and lieutenant governor.
Stephanie and Andrew Horne have been married 25 years and have two sons — Ty and Nick — who are graduates of the Jefferson County Public Schools System. She was a frequent volunteer in their schools, and was president two terms for the Ballard Parent Teacher Students Association.
Stephanie Horne also has served on numerous boards, current and past, including Christ Church United Methodist Board of Trustees, Louisville Bar Association, Susan G. Komen board member; Greater Louisville board member; and Metro United Way committee member.
On Nov. 4, 2014, she won a general election to be a member of the Jefferson County Board of Education. She decided this year not to seek re-election.
In August, the school board voted 4-3, with Horne in the majority, to reach a deal with the state Department of Education to avoid a state takeover of the Jefferson County schools system.
“If our governor can come after Jefferson County schools he can come after any school anywhere,” Horne said Wednesday in Morehead.
Horne graduated from Joliet West High School in Joliet, Ill., when she was 16. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 1988 and her law degree at University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 1992.
On her Facebook page, she reveals she is a fan of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.