Politics & Government

After filing deadline, lineups are set for May 17 Kentucky primary election

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear will not have an opponent in the May Democratic primary for governor, while Republican front-runner and state Senate President David Williams will have two.

Tuesday was the filing deadline to run for state constitutional offices on the May 17 ballot.

In the Republican primary, Williams and his running mate, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, will face Jefferson County Clerk Barbara "Bobbie" Holsclaw, running with retired Navy officer and Jefferson County teacher Bill Vermillion Jr.; and Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman whose running mate is state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville.

Williams is the front-runner in both name recognition and fund-raising. He and Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball player, reportedly have raised more than $753,196. Moffett has reported raising $53,000.

Holsclaw was the only candidate to file Tuesday. She said after filing her paperwork that she knows the Republican primary for the state's top office will be tough.

"I know I'm the underdog and I realize I have an uphill battle," Holsclaw said.

No candidates filed to run against Beshear and his running mate, former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

Beshear and Abramson, who announced their ticket in 2009, have raised $3.5 million.

Lexington lawyer Gatewood Galbraith and media consultant Dea Riley also have said they will run for governor. They are collecting signatures to run as independents.

Democrats had a tough time in last November's elections. Republican unknown and Tea Party candidate Rand Paul beat Attorney General Jack Conway to win an open U.S. Senate seat. Republicans also made gains in the state House and Senate.

Matt Erwin, a spokesman for Kentucky Democratic Party, said he thinks the statewide elections this year will be different.

"This is a completely different electorate," he said. "People in Kentucky are very comfortable electing Democrats. I think that people are anxious to talk about Kentucky, which wasn't mentioned in the last election cycle. The 2010 elections are over."

Steve Robertson, chairman of the Kentucky Republican Party, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Here are highlights of other races:

Agriculture commissioner: This is the most crowded race on the May 17 ballot.

On the Republican side, state Rep. Jamie Comer of Tompkinsville, will face Rob Rothenburger, the Shelby County judge-executive. Both are farmers. Five Democrats have filed: Robert "Bob" Farmer of Louisville, Stewart Gritton of Lawrenceburg, John Faris Lackey of Richmond, David Williams of Glasgow and B.D. Wilson of Frankfort.

Secretary of state: The Democratic primary will be one of the most-watched races.

Incumbent Trey Grayson, a Republican, announced this month he would not finish the remaining 11 months of his term because he was taking a position at Harvard University. Beshear appointed Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker, a Democrat, to complete the rest of Grayson's term. Walker filed to run for the office and will face Lexington lawyer Allison Lundergan Grimes in the primary.

Lundergan Grimes has been backed by some of the most influential members of the Democratic Party and is the daughter of a former state Democratic Party chairman.

The Republicans in the secretary of state race are Bill Johnson, a Todd County businessman, and Hilda Legg, a former agricultural official.

State treasurer: KC Crosbie, a Lexington Urban County Council member, will have no opposition in the Republican primary. Todd Hollenbach, the Democratic incumbent, will face Steve Hamrick, a Hopkinsville business owner and media consultant, in May.