Adam Edelen leaves governor's office, could be eyeing run for auditor

08/11/2010 04:22 PM

Adam Edelen, who has served as Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s chief of staff for more than two years, is stepping down to return to the private sector, the governor announced Wednesday.

Mike Haydon, Beshear’s chief legislative liaison and a former Democratic legislative aide, will replace Edelen, whose resignation is effective Sept. 15.

Leaving the government clears the way for Edelen to run for office, such as state Auditor. In fact, after a fund-raiser in Gilbertsville on Friday for the Democratic state Senate caucus, former governor and current Senator Julian Carroll pointed to Edelen and told the crowd he will be a big name.

“You need to know who Adam Edelen is because you never know when you might get a chance to vote for him,” Carroll said.

Edelen declined to comment later on whether that meant he was preparing to announce a run for statewide office. State auditor, secretary of state and agriculture commissioner all will be open seats in 2011 because the incumbents — Democrat Crit Luallen and Republicans Trey Grayson and Richie Farmer, respectively — are term limited.

Edelen’s departure has been a poorly-kept secret in Frankfort, although Edelen declined to confirm his plans to leave the governor’s office and launch a campaign for office when cn|2 Politics caught up with him last month. Here’s that interview:

Beshear issued a statement praising the work Edelen had done as his top aide and wishing him well “in his endeavors.”

As my chief of staff, Adam continually demonstrated strong leadership skills and a passion for Kentucky. I can’t say enough about the role this young man played in making my administration both more efficient and effective. His service has made a positive difference in the lives of those my administration seeks to serve — the people of Kentucky.

Another Democratic official, state Senate Democratic Leader Ed Worley, also issued a statement calling Edelen a “real asset to Beshear’s administration because of his ability and experience in bringing private sector and state government to the table.”

Edelen did hit a public relations snag last year when the Herald-Leader’s John Cheves reported that he failed to disclose on his Executive Branch Ethics Commission financial report that one of his business interests involved a partnership with a lobbyist, Bob Babbage. The ethics commission later ruled that Edelen could sell his interests to Babbage, thereby ending the partnership, Cheves later reported.

- Ryan Alessi with video produced by Holly Thompson

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