Former Auditor Crit Luallen says she won't run for governor in 2015

04/24/2014 11:29 AM

Crit Luallen, the former auditor and longtime state government official, on Thursday took herself out of the conversation for the Democratic primary in next year’s governor’s race.

Luallen said in a statement to reporters that 2015 “wasn’t the right time” based on family and personal goals. Here’s her statement:

After careful deliberation, I have decided not to enter the 2015 Governor’s race. I remain passionate about Kentucky and its potential for the future. But in the end, I had to make the decision based on what I thought was best for me personally and my family. I am blessed with a wonderful marriage, a large extended family and a circle of good friends. My husband Lynn and I both have our health and a lot we want to do and enjoy together. This simply wasn’t the right time in our lives for us to make the decision to enter the race. I want to express my profound gratitude to the many wonderful supporters who have given me so much encouragement to consider the race. It was that encouragement which made this a very difficult decision and one that required careful consideration. I am optimistic that others will step forward with the leadership and vision to move our state forward.

She informed just a small group of key advisors and friends before Thursday. She told two former aides in the auditor’s office — Jeff Derouen, now the Public Service Commission executive director, and Joe Meyer, the former state Senator and Kentucky Education Cabinet Secretary — over lunch Thursday just before she notified Kentucky reporters.

“Crit would have been a great governor,” said Jennifer Moore, the Louisville lawyer who served as Democratic Party Chairman during part of Luallen’s tenure as auditor. “Everyone knows my passion for electing more women to office. But, I respect her personal decision and value our friendship and her mentoring to female candidates.”

Attorney General Jack Conway, who got his first state government experience working as an aide to former Gov. Paul Patton with Luallen, also issued a statement praising Luallen but making no mention of her decision. Conway is, of course, still eying the 2015 governor’s race.

“Crit Luallen is the gold standard for public service and for friendship,” Conway said. “In so many ways, I am grateful for her guidance and wisdom. My family would not be where we are today without Crit Luallen.”

Since leaving the auditor’s office at the end of 2011 after two terms, Luallen has been openly considering entering the governor’s race. She declared herself the most qualified candidate for the office ibecause of her work in six administrations, including secretary of the cabinet for Gov. Paul Patton, and her tenure as auditor from 2004 through 2011.

And this isn’t the first time Luallen considered running for governor. She flirted with it before the 2007 race before ultimately deciding the time wasn’t right after coming off of cancer treatment.

Luallen had said for the last six months that she would make an announcement about her intentions one way or the other without naming a running mate. The former state auditor had previously told Pure Politics that she thought it was important first to let Kentuckians and her supporters know what she decided, and if she got in, she could choose a lieutenant governor candidate later.

Luallen said all along that she was laying the groundwork for a potential run. In March, she traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with a potential fundraising firm and media consultant as well as pollster and strategist Celinda Lake, as Pure Politics first reported. Here’s what she said over the last four months about the governor’s race:

So far, no major Democrat has announced intentions to run in the 2015 race. Other Democrats besides Conway who are still considering the race include Luallen’s successor in the auditor’s office, Adam Edelen. House Speaker Greg Stumbo has left open the possibility of a run, and former Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo also hasn’t ruled out the race.


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