Rothenburger to seek Republican nomination for agriculture commissioner in 2011

09/02/2010 04:27 PM

Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger told cn|2 Politics on Thursday that he filed his early paperwork to begin running for the Republican nomination for commissioner of agriculture next year.

That position is being vacated by Richie Farmer, the former University of Kentucky basketball player who has held the position since 2004 and is term-limited. Farmer announced Wednesday that he is running as lieutenant governor candidate on a Republican ticket with Senate President David Williams.

Rothenburger said he wanted to see if a Williams-Farmer ticket would come together before determining his political future.

“They do have a good solid ticket rignt now,” he said. “And with Phil Moffett and Mike Harmon announcing their ticket, I feel like the Republican party has strong options in the governor’s race. It would have made it difficult for me to pursue that nomination for governor.”

Rothenburger told cn|2 Politics in July that he was considering a run for statewide office in 2011 but wouldn’t confirm which position he was leaning toward seeking.

Rothenburger, an accredited fire fighter and paramedic, has served as Shelby County’s judge-executive since 2002. And he grew up on a dairy farm, first in Jefferson County then in Shelby County.

He currently runs a beef-cattle ranch in Shelby County. And he said his EMS and fire fighting background will help with the diverse job duties of agriculture commissioner.

“That will be beneficial when you start looking at division of pesticides, which the commission oversees,” he said. “And with Ride safety at amusement parks and farm safety, I think there’s a tremendous amount of experience I can bring.”

Rothenburger said he would be open to potentially running on a slate connected with one of the Republican gubernatorial tickets in the primary, but hasn’t decided which one or whether he wants to endorse the Williams-Farmer or Moffett-Harmon tickets.

“Everything is on the table and possible,” he said.

His first goal is to set up a fund-raiser in the next several weeks now that he filed paperwork Thursday with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance to begin raising money.

Several other officials are being mentioned as possible candidates to run to replace Farmer as commissioner of agriculture.

- Ryan Alessi

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