FRANKFORT — Digital entrepreneur Drew Curtis and his wife, Heather Curtis, paid $500 and submitted more than 9,000 signatures Monday morning to enter the race for Kentucky governor and lieutenant governor as independents.
The secretary of state's office said a few hours later that the husband-and-wife team from Versailles had submitted at least 5,000 valid signatures of registered Kentucky voters, as required by law, and therefore would appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The major party names on the ballot are Democrat Jack Conway and running mate Sannie Overly, and Republican Matt Bevin and running mate Jenean Hampton.
Tuesday is the deadline for independent candidates to enter the race.
Drew and Heather Curtis, both 42, are not the first married couple to run for the state's two highest elective offices. Steven Maynard and his wife, Bonnie, of Inez ran for governor and lieutenant governor in the 1995 Democratic primary. Paul Patton won the nomination.
The Conway campaign said it had nothing to say about the Curtis campaign. The Bevin campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Speaking at a news conference in front of the Capitol, Drew Curtis said he and his wife were citizen candidates, not politicians.
Curtis said he didn't know from which political party he would draw more votes, but he predicted he would win the race and not be a spoiler. He was a Democrat before changing to an independent last year.
Curtis said that Conway has yet to say no to any question that begins with "would you fund this?" and that Bevin can't remember his policy positions "20 minutes after he says them."
As governor, Curtis said, he would consult with his friends in Silicon Valley and try to use his digital entrepreneurship background to bring broadband Internet access to all parts of Kentucky.
Curtis is founder of Fark.com, a news aggregation website. He described it as a combination of The Daily Show and the Drudge Report.
He said he would "use a lot of social media" to win the race and would not accept campaign contributions from special interests.
To participate in some of the upcoming debates, Curtis said, he would need to attract at least 10 percent of the vote in public polling. In a recent Bluegrass Poll, Curtis stood at 8 percent.
On issues, Curtis said he thought the state has enough money to continue funding an expanded Medicaid program in 2017, but he wasn't sure about 2020.
He said he would sign into law a measure allowing the use of recreational marijuana in the state if the legislature approved it.
He also said county clerks should "do their job" and issue marriage licenses to all qualifying couples.
Curtis said he voted for Democrat Barack Obama for president in 2008 but had forgotten his presidential preference in 2012.
Of this year's down-ticket candidates for other state constitutional offices, he said he liked lieutenant governor candidate Hampton, saying they had talked about popular fictional characters "Batman" and The Walking Dead.
Curtis declined to be pegged as a liberal or conservative, calling himself "an ultra-pragmatist."
He said he chose his wife to be his running mate because they have operated a company together for 16 years and make "a great team."
Heather Curtis said her husband was "brilliant" and that "he moves mountains."
Heather Curtis acknowledged that she first said no when her husband told her he would like to run for governor and wanted her to be his running mate.
Curtis' campaign manager is Andrew Sowders. His campaign communications director is Heather Chapman.