Guthrie downplays interest in governor's race even as he appears to lay groundwork

01/15/2013 11:12 AM

Republican U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie is publicly trying to tamp down expectations that he’ll run for governor in 2015. But behind the scenes, he’s still doing some of the key things a diligent potential statewide candidate would do.

For instance, Guthrie — of Bowling Green — was in Frankfort last week to see his former state Senate colleague Robert Stivers sworn in as Senate President. Guthrie denied that any political meetings took place even at a reception at Republican Party headquarters after the swearing in.

And on Thursday, he held a meet-and-greet reception at the Horse and Barrel restaurant in Lexington before the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce dinner. The reception drew about 80 people, including fellow Republican Congressman Andy Barr, Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell and about a dozen Republican lawmakers.

But Guthrie, whose 2nd Congressional District was redrawn last year to include some of the counties southwest of Lexington, has said he’s focused on introducing himself to new constituents.

In an interview with Pure Politics on Tuesday, Guthrie didn’t completely shut the door to a 2015 run for governor but said he wouldn’t jump in the race if he had to decide at this moment.

“If today were the filing deadline for governor three years from now, I wouldn’t. I think we’ve got a lot of things to do this session of Congress. And I am not going to sit around and take votes in Congress worried about what’s going to happen back home in Frankfort politically,” Guthrie said (at 5:15).

One of the fiscal issues Guthrie referred to was pushing Congress to balance the budget with spending cuts — even if that means cutting funds to programs that he works on such as the one that trains workers to fill open positions.

“The money that is spent on this program needs to be on the table. And when we talk about on the table, it doesn’t mean you’re going to take 100% of the money. But as we try to balance the budget, I don’t think there are any sacred cows you can have,” he said (at 1:20).

Guthrie also will return to the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee. And in the intersection between drug abuse and work force development, Guthrie said he would support drug testing as a requirement to receive unemployment benefits.

“You will hear from a lot of employers that the biggest obstacle to hiring someone is them passing the drug test, and if you cant pass the drug test, why should you draw unemployment? I think that is a fair thing to ask and to ask of people” (at 3:00).

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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