Loose ends: Guthrie for governor? (and other GOP notes)

05/24/2010 08:18 AM

Many Republicans have placed first-term U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, near or at the top of their short list of potential 2011 candidates to try to spoil Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s re-election bid.

A former state senator, Guthrie knows Frankfort, is well-liked and comes from a background that includes a West Point education and helping run a family business in the manufacturing industry. Plus, he wouldn’t have to give up his House seat that’s up for election during even years if he lost.

But Guthrie told cn|2 Politics Saturday that it’s not going to happen.

“My name won’t be on the gubernatorial ballot in 2011,” he said, adding that he didn’t have a pick yet for which Republican he’d like to see run. “I need to see who all puts their names out. But, no, it won’t be me.”

Guthrie didn’t rule out one day running for governor but said it won’t happen soon.

He said he’s still new to the U.S. House, having been elected in 2008 in an open-seat race to replace longtime GOP Rep. Ron Lewis.

“I think we’re going to have a good year in the House, this year,” he said. “My objective is as long as the people of the 2nd district want me to serve in the House, if they’ll let me go back, I could be a subcommittee chairman. That’s what I’m focused on this year.”

Other notes:

  • U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has scheduled a fund-raiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Bowling Green on July 24, Guthrie said. Boehner, himself, will be there as the headliner. He helped Guthrie raise money in 2008 for his congressional race against Democrat David Boswell, a state senator from Owensboro.
  • Andy Barr, the Republican taking on U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, saw his national Republican profile increase last week. As John Cheves of the Herald-Leader reported, the NRCC upgraded him to “contender status,” the second highest designation for Republican congressional candidates trying to pick up Democratic seats. Barr won overwhelmingly Tuesday night in “a 1,500-way primary,” joked state Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson at Saturday morning’s state GOP executive committee meeting. He actually defeated five others. Barr said he has begun planning major fund-raisers and the process of hiring more campaign staff.
  • Republicans set a couple records on Tuesday night. U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul collected the most votes of any GOP candidate during a primary with more than 206,000, according to the unofficial results. That’s more than the 205,226 total number of Republicans who showed up to vote in the 2008 primary. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell had the previous record in 2008, in which he garnered 168,127 votes in the May primary. Also, as former Republican National Committee Chairman R. Michael Duncan told Republicans at their unity rally Saturday, Republicans showed up in greater proportion than their Democratic counterparts for the first time in recent memory. Republicans had a slightly higher turnout than Democrats. Overall, the state turnout rate was 32.73 percent.

– Ryan Alessi

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