FANCY FARM — U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler and former state Auditor Crit Luallen showed up Saturday at the Fancy Farm political picnic, sparking much speculation about possible political races in their future.
Chandler, a Woodford County Democrat who has represented Central Kentucky's 6th Congressional District since 2004, was coy about any future race. He is in a re-election battle this year with Republican Andy Barr, who lost to Chandler in 2010 by 647 votes.
Accompanied by his wife, Jennifer, at several events throughout the weekend, Chandler said he "just wanted to renew some old friendships."
He said he raised no campaign funds.
Asked whether he was considering running for governor in 2015 or the U.S. Senate in 2014, Chandler said, "I have my hands full this time. I'm focused on one race and one race only — this year's race for Congress."
Chandler lost a bid for governor in 2003 against Republican Ernie Fletcher, then was elected to the House seat that Fletcher vacated.
Luallen, who was cabinet secretary for then-Gov. Paul Patton, said she was not interested in running for the Senate but has been "talking to a lot of people" about a bid for governor in 2015.
Luallen, of Frankfort, flew to Western Kentucky with Jim Cauley, who managed Gov. Steve Beshear's successful campaign in 2007.
Asked if she has a deadline to decide whether to enter the 2015 race, Luallen said, "I have some time."
She said she has received encouragement to run for the Senate in 2014 against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell but said her skills, experience and background are better suited for state leadership rather than federal office.
Another Democrat frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2015 is Attorney General Jack Conway of Louisville.
He said Saturday that it was too early to talk about that race. "Steve Beshear just got sworn in a few months ago for a second term," he said.
Asked what he thinks of Luallen's traveling to Western Kentucky with Cauley, Stumbo said, "Crit is my dear friend. She deserves the right to keep her name out there about what she might do in the future."
Tribute to Galbraith
At Saturday's picnic, a candidate in last year's race for governor was remembered.
Picnic organizer Mark Wilson paid tribute to Gatewood Galbraith of Lexington, who ran five times for the state's highest office. Galbraith died in January.