Rep. Tilley leaves open running in 2015 or for House leadership, all but eliminates party switch

05/04/2014 01:56 PM

Earlier this year, Democrats looking at running for governor began circulating poll results that showed a conservative Democrat from western Kentucky selected as a running mate would most help a gubernatorial ticket.

That region was once a stronghold for Democrats, but Republicans have been making inroads in both state legislative and local offices, slowly whittling down the list of possibilities.

Democratic Rep. John Tilley, the House Judiciary Committee chairman from Hopkinsville, is among the most prominent among those Democratic elected officials left in the region. Tilley has made headlines for his work on key issues in recent years, including corrections reforms, measures to crack down on prescription pills and synthetic drugs, and, in the 2014 session, juvenile justice system changes.

Tilley said in an interview in his Hopkinsville office last week that because of that affect on important Kentucky policies, it would be hard for him to decide to leave the state legislature to run for statewide office.

Tilley is running unopposed this fall for re-election as Democrats try to defend control of the state House. Democrats hold a 54-46 edge. Tilley all but eliminated the possibility of being pursuaded to switch his party registration if Republicans come close or do take over the House after the November elections.

He said he’s fielded an inquiry from a prospective candidate for governor — whom he declined to name — and didn’t eliminate the possibility of running as a lieutenant governor candidate. But he’s not at the top of the short lists for the most likely candidates to enter the race — Attorney General Jack Conway and Auditor Adam Edelen. That leaves House Speaker Greg Stumbo and former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, both of whom have left open the possibility of running for governor next year.

Watch the video to see what he said about his interest in running for attorney general or secretary of state if incumbent Alison Lundergan Grimes wins the U.S. Senate race or loses that race and decides not to seek a second term as secretary of state.

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