Luallen weighs in on gay marriage appeal split; 'methodical' gubernatorial decision process continues

03/09/2014 11:48 AM

While former state Auditor Crit Luallen continues a “methodical” look at running for governor, she said Saturday she wants to wait for a less “critical” fundraising time so as to cause the least disruption to Democrats’ efforts in this year’s U.S. Senate race.

At Saturday’s Emerge Kentucky event in Louisville, Luallen did weigh in on a decision that’s already proved divisive for Democrats. U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn’s ruling that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from other states has split Attorney General Jack Conway and Gov. Steve Beshear.

Conway, who is looking at a gubernatorial bid himself, will not seek an appeal but Beshear is challenging Heyburn’s ruling using an outside legal counsel. Conway and Luallen both attended Saturday night’s event for the program that helps train Democratic women to run for office. Luallen told Conway he “made a courageous decision.”

Luallen said she felt both Conway and Beshear did what they thought was right.

“I think Jack made a call based on his heart and what he believed in a personal level. So from that perspective it was the right thing from him. I think the governor made his calculation based on what he believed was the best outcome for the state in terms of the legal analysis and the clarity under the law, so I think both of them had a tough decision to make and I’m not going to second guess either decision,” Luallen said.

Telling reporters there’s “no need to jump right now,” Luallen said she and other Democrats should wait on their announcements because of the “critical time” for U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ fundraising efforts in the campaign against incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Luallen described herself as “methodical” while talking to reporters about her recent trip to to Washington D.C. earlier in the week to meet with a potential fundraising firm and media consultant as well as pollster and strategist Celinda Lake, as Pure Politics first reported.

“I’ve not made a final decision yet, but I’m a pretty methodical person all of my friends know that well — sometimes too methodical, so I’m taking all the steps to be sure how the pieces fit together,” Luallen said.

But 2015 is approaching rapidly. The first Republican slate of Hal Heiner and K.C. Crosbie announced earlier this week. But Luallen said that she doesn’t think that moves her timetable to announce.

“Hal Heiner has no statewide name recognition, and he’s got to start early to begin that process of getting his name awareness built up outside of Louisville and Jefferson County,” Luallen said, adding that her focus continues to be on the U.S. Senate race.

While Luallen said she still expects to announce her intent to run before forming a slate she did describe what she’s looking for in that position of lieutenant governor.

“It’ll be a question of who’s the best fit. Where’s the best chemistry. What does that person bring in terms of governance ability — not just the political calculation. And then there has to be a formal vetting process,” Luallen said.


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