With one week to go before the filing deadline in this year’s race for governor, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton has acknowledged in recent days that she may not be Gov. Matt Bevin’s running mate if he files for re-election, as promised.
Bevin, a Republican, remains mum on who will be his running mate for lieutenant governor, but Hampton told fellow members of a state panel last week that “this may be my last year” on it.
“I’m a realist,” she said to members of the Kentucky Emergency Response Commission, according to an audio recording of the Jan. 16 meeting obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader through an Open Records request.
When asked to expound of Hampton’s comments, her chief of staff, Steve Knipper, acknowledged that his boss may have little time left to complete her ongoing projects.
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“As one of the most active lieutenant governors in Kentucky’s history, Lt. Gov. Hampton is leading many projects,” Knipper said in an email. “She recognizes that she has a short period to complete those projects if she’s not on the ticket. That includes organizing Kentucky’s licensed amateur radio operators and encouraging individual preparedness for emergencies.”
Bevin’s communications office did not respond to a question Tuesday asking if Hampton will be his running mate for a second four-year term beginning in December.
Bevin has said he will seek re-election but has declined to say whether Hampton will be on the ticket. He told a group of reporters earlier this month that he’s still discussing with Hampton whether to run together again.
Hampton, the first black candidate to win statewide office in Kentucky and the third black woman to serve as lieutenant governor in any state, told the Bowling Green Daily News on Jan. 14 that she believes she has done a “fantastic job” and wants to be Bevin’s running mate again.
“But that’s the governor’s call,” she told her hometown newspaper.
Bevin has called Hampton “a dear friend” and said she has “been a fantastic lieutenant governor.”
Several Tea Party leaders across the state have advocated that Bevin keep her as his running mate.
Democrats who have said they will seek the state’s top elective office are Attorney General Andy Beshear of Louisville, House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook, former state Auditor Adam Edelen and Geoffrey “Geoff” Young of Lexington.
The filing deadline is 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the secretary of state’s office in the state Capitol. The filing fee costs $500.