Politics & Government

Democrat Ed Marksberry says he'll run for U.S. Senate as an independent

FRANKFORT — Owensboro home builder Ed Marksberry has decided to run for the U.S. Senate next year as an independent rather than as a Democrat.

"I want to make sure my platform is not beholden to corporate money and any political party leadership," he said Monday during a telephone interview.

Marksberry has had "some disagreements" with Kentucky Democratic Party leadership, whom he contends ignored his campaign.

"I can now do what I want to," he said. "I may not win, but my voice will be heard."

Marksberry said he must change his party registration by Dec. 31 and get the signatures of 5,000 Kentucky voters by August to be on the November 2014 ballot for U.S. Senate as an independent.

He said he expected that supporters of the late Gatewood Galbraith, a perennial candidate from Lexington, would help him get the necessary signatures because he, like Galbraith, advocates legalization of marijuana.

Marksberry's switch to independent leaves Democratic front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes with two opponents in the May Democratic primary election: University of Louisville communications professor Greg Leichty and Louisville music promoter Bennie Smith.

Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell, who is seeking his sixth term, faces Louisville businessman Matt Bevin in the GOP primary election.