Phil Moffett considers 2015 run for governor, says tea party candidates learning to win

06/01/2012 09:17 AM

Phil Moffett said he’s open to running for a state legislative seat in 2014 or making another bid for governor in 2015 but isn’t interested in challenging U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in two years.

Moffett, who fell 10 points shy of defeated Sen. David Williams in last year’s GOP primary for governor, tasted victory last week after serving as campaign chairman for Thomas Massie, who became the Republican nominee for Congress in the 4th District.

Moffett discussed that win (0:20 and again at 9:30 of the video). And he answered questions about his own future after supporters chanted “2015, 2015” when Moffett took the stage last Tuesday to introduce Massie at the primary victory party. Moffett said he’s looking at another bid for governor.

“That’s a long way away. I’m still considering it. And I’m open to the idea,” Moffett said. “But 2015 seems 10 years from now … I’m not ready to commit that I’m getting in the race. There’s a lot of things that has to happen between now and then.” Find out what at 6:00 in the video.

But Moffett said he’s not interested in challenging McConnell in 2014 and is “not looking for an alternative to Senator McConnell.”

“I’ve just been more interested in state politics and local politics than federal politics. And I have no interest in running for federal office,” he said (7:45)

As for tea party candidates, last Tuesday’s primary brought a mixed bag. Massie received strong tea party support in his win. In addition Chris Hightower, a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s 2010 run, won a GOP primary in the 16th state House District for the right to take on Democratic Rep. Martha Jane King. And Marilyn Parker defeated an incumbent Republican councilman in Louisville. Beyond them, a host of tea party-aligned candidates lost.

“I faced that same issue when I ran last year. And that is they had never run for office before. Getting to understand that process and raise money and become a formidable candidate, that’s something you have to learn over time,” he said. (4:00)

Moffett said tea party newcomers need to learn from establishment candidates’ fundraising and campaign organizations, calling it “political manufacturing.”

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • Bruce Layne wrote on June 02, 2012 01:16 PM :

    Not raising another $200,000 for Phil Moffett’s 2011 run for governor led to the biggest disappointment for the small government, liberty, TEA Party conservatives in Kentucky. I regret that error almost every day. After the embarrassment of the Williams & Farmer ticket, the Republican Party of Kentucky should be filled with regret as well. We tried to tell them, but they wouldn’t listen.

    If we’d done our job, we wouldn’t have Steve “Chicken Biscuit” Beshear as governor, ramming through ObamaCare before the US Supreme Court can decide that the health care mandate is unconstitutional and the federal government can’t force a citizen to buy anything. This is the price for losing the governor’s race. The stakes are high. We had better get our game on when Phil runs again. We let him down last time, and we’re paying for it now, and we can’t afford it. We certainly can’t afford to make the same mistake again. Hopefully, the Republican Party will see its error and back Phil in 2015.

    At the Thomas Massie victory party, on the two occasions Phil Moffett was acknowledged for his invaluable effort on behalf of Thomas Massie, there were raucous chants of “2015! 2015! 2015!”

  • Jami Duvall, M. A. wrote on June 03, 2012 10:16 AM :

    The Teaparty has high hopes for Mr. Moffett. He is right about state politics, because that is where the real issues are going to be decided, once we get the Federal government off our backs.

    He has helped lead Thomas Massie to victory; he was everywhere taking part, not just on the victory stand the last night. He has the character, caliber, and experience to be governor, or just about anything else he would like. Keep your eye on Phil if you want to know what Teaparty and GOP are thinking.

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on June 04, 2012 09:59 AM :

    Learn from “establishment candidates” he says? I thought establishment people were poison and everything about them was wrong? Now they want to copy their behavior. Wow. Tea party candidates are an enigma. They say government can’t do anything right, create jobs, or fix problems but they want to be in charge of government to fix everything.

    I love seeing McConnell say to his contributors and news media that government has never created one job then he goes to Paducah and aluminum plants and Louisville as a government leader and states he saved and created jobs. Not a peep from the Democratic party about this!

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