Democrat Colmon Elridge has a campaign theme, now he just needs a campaign

01/14/2015 01:07 PM

With two offices in his sight, Democrat Colmon Elridge, executive vice president of the Young Democrats of America and the executive assistant to Gov. Steve Beshear, is mulling his options ahead of the filing deadline which is quickly approaching.

The 33-year old Elridge is contemplating a run for treasurer or secretary of state in 2015, and with little time left on the clock before the filing deadline, he’s closely weighing the options.

“For us these decisions are political and personal. For us we’ve — in our mind at least, answered the political question. We know what the field looks like, we know that we can raise the money, we know what our chances are and what our infrastructure is across the state,” Elridge said. “Right now it’s more personal.”

While he contemplates a bid for office, Elridge said his boys, ages 3 and 5 years old, are his “ultimate responsibility.”

“We also want to make sure there is a place for my voice in the things that we care about in the dialogue. Even though it’s probably not kosher to say it in the political world but my faith is my everything.”

As Elridge looks to his faith for his decision on what office to run for or even if he will run in 2015 he will also likely be keeping an eye on current Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes as she makes her 2015 decisions.

Grimes challenged U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 election cycle, but her 15 point loss has her political future up in the air. Grimes has said she will seek another office, but that could come as a re-election bid or perhaps a run for attorney general or even governor.

Meanwhile, Elridge already has a platform if he decides to enter a race and he says he arrived there through his travels to all 120 counties in his current role in the Beshear administration, “it’s given me a sense of knowing where our people are.”

“Whether its treasurer or secretary of state, whether I don’t run for anything and I just end up working in the next administration — it’s making sure we are creating avenues of opportunity for our people,” Elridge said.

“Especially in the treasurer’s office, because I’ve had obviously a lot of time to think about that – it’s really a multitude of things, but most importantly it’s about confronting these cyclical issues that continuously hold Kentucky back,” Elridge said.

Among the issues are healthcare, poverty, homelessness that has an impact on the state and local budgets.

“Working in that p3 model, that public private partnership model we can confront these issues and really lessen the burden on our local governments on our state dollars on our tax dollars and then invest on things Democrat, Republican – east, west, north or south — we all agree we need to invest in: education, healthcare – infrastructure,” Elridge said (4:30).

With four candidates filing or announcing they will seek the office of treasurer and at least three more counting Elridge considering a run, Democrats could see a seven person primary for the post. But Elridge says politically that’s something that is “healthy” and that state Democrats know well.

“My political thought is either you want to run alone or the more the merrier, so it looks like we’re going to have the more the merrier in this primary,” Elridge said.

“Some of the things that I’m talking are things thatt have not been talked about — have not been a necessary vision for the treasurer’s office so that gives me some space.”

Elridge also said his story is one of a normal person who has worked hard for his place keeps him in line with the average Kentuckian (9:30 in the interview).

No matter which race he, enters Elridge has the potential to make history as the first African-American to be elected to constitutional office in Kentucky.

“I’m 33-years old and I’ve woken up every day for those 33 years and been black, so it’s not a shock to me,” he said. “What it honestly means to me is not so much a racial thing.”

“If I’m the vessel by which we are able to open up an opportunity not only for other minorities, but again for folks who grew up like me — I think we can talk about race as a component, but I think there are people right now who are growing up poor, growing up homeless who don’t see themselves represented in government.”

“If I can be a vehicle for people to see themselves in the halls of government then I’ll take that on.”


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