Former Louisville Metro Council Republican eyeing run for secretary of state

01/15/2015 06:09 PM

Former Louisville Metro Council member Ken Fleming is “seriously looking at” a run for secretary of state, the potential candidate told Pure Politics Thursday.

Fleming, a 54-year-old Republican, said he’s leaning toward a secretary of state campaign after encouragement from Republicans and Democrats alike regardless of whether incumbent Alison Lundergan Grimes seeks a second term. He’s also considering a run for auditor, he said.

Grimes, whose spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment, has not declared which constitutional office, if any, she will run for this year after losing a grueling U.S. Senate campaign by more than 15 points.

“I look at that job in terms of what it needs in order to promote the commonwealth and the citizens who reside in the commonwealth, and her decision, her direction has no bearing on me,” Fleming said in a phone interview. “If she files will she be a formidable candidate? Sure, I think she will be a formidable candidate. She’ll probably raise money. She has a network established.”

Fleming, though, is confident that his experience on the Louisville Metro Council since its inception 12 years ago as well as his private-sector career that covers banking, land and oceanic mapping, and serving as executive director of the Kilgore Samaritan Counseling Center will help him mount a “very strong and very credible campaign.”

As a member of the council’s minority party, Fleming said he helped spearhead an ethics reform package that eventually cleared the city-county government on a bipartisan vote. He also noted that, politically, he topped 10 other contenders in the GOP primary when first running for metro council in 2002.

Fleming said he will make a decision soon with the Jan. 27 deadline approaching. Fleming, who did not seek re-election to Louisville Metro Council, would be the second Republican in the race after former Erlanger councilman Steve Knipper filed to run Nov. 6.

“Part of my background in being a mapper, you sit there and have to look at quite a bit of information that comes from a very broad spectrum of angles and levels, and I’m trying to take as many scenarios in as possible in order for me to make sure that I have things in place to make the best decision possible because I don’t get into it to lose,” Fleming said.

“I get into it to win and win strong and hopefully to win big, so I’ll be making my decision soon as far as which way to go.”

Even if he decides against his first run for statewide office, Fleming said there are other pursuits in his political future.

“I really enjoy meeting people on the campaign trail, but also from a government standpoint,” he said, noting politics and government are “hard to shake” once they’re in one’s blood.

“… If I decide not to do this, I do have some other avenues that I have talked with people that I will be pursuing down the road in order to provide a public service.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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