The list: Who could run for the GOP if Bevin doesn't in 2019

04/23/2018 11:19 AM

Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky, is underwater in popularity in the state, and according to the man himself he is not enjoying the job of governor. Bevin has not said if he will run for re-election, but the latest signs don’t look good for re-election.

According to the “Big Red Poll” Bevin’s approval rating is at a dismal 32 percent, under performing former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, R-Kentucky, who had a 35 percent approval rating in Nov. 2016 as he was under indictment.

With Bevin’s popularity in the dumps, and GOP lawmakers overriding his vetoes on the budget and tax bills Bevin could be facing lame-duck in his third year in office. While Bevin has not announced publicly if he will run for re-election, here are a few people who could seek the mansion if Bevin doesn’t in 2019.

Nearly the entire Republican federal delegation makes the list of those in the GOP who could step forward to run for Governor in 2019, it’s an off-cycle year for those potential candidates and a loss would not disqualify them from continuing their service in Congress. The GOP has a deep bench, but these could be the most likely candidates.

James Comer — Has had his share of political ups and downs, but could be a front runner to run for office if Bevin does not. It was Bevin who defeated the now 1st Dist. Congressman in the 2015 Republican primary by a mere 83 votes.

This is Comer’s first term in Congress, but his also well known for his time as Agriculture Commissioner in Kentucky.

Comer hitched his wagon to Trump in the 2016 election so if Trump’s popularity takes a nose-dive in Kentucky that could be a problem for the Tompkinsville Republican, who was hurt by a reported scandal that would surely rise its head again were he to run.

Brett Guthrie The Bowling Green 2nd District Congressman is well liked, and has been long mentioned as a potential candidate for Governor. Guthrie dispelled rumors of an impending run in 2013 ahead of the 2015 race, and his been taking his time, and a more traditional road to higher office.

Guthrie is close with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, where Comer occasionally finds himself on the outs.

Thomas Massie Kentucky’s 4th Dist. Congressman is a disrupter in Congress; he has spent much of his time opposing leadership in the House of Representatives. The Northern Kentuckian has also railed against the influence of lobbyists in the system. Massie is also an inventor and MIT grad, that lives off-the-grid.

It’s unclear how Massie would fair in a state-wide election; he’s on the Libertarian side of many issues, and has advocated reducing legislative hoops, and making it easier to acquire silencers for guns.

Hal Rogers Has been in Congress for 37 years, he was the Chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee from 2011 to 2016, reaching his term limit and now serves as a sub committee chair.

As unlikely as a Rogers run may seem, there were a lot of rumors surrounding a run from the Congressman in 2007 race, as former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, R-Kentucky, sought re-election under indictment. Rogers could consider a run after likely already achieving the pinnacle of his Congressional career.

Andy Barr The 6th Dist. Congressman has been in Washington since 2013, and if he can pull off a victory in this re-election season in 2018. The Lexington lawyer is one of many high profile Republicans in the state with ambition. Barr seems to enjoy being a Congressman, but he also has a young family, and a reason to be back in the Commonwealth full time.

Max Wise the state Senator for the 16th Senatorial district seems to be a man on the rise. Wise is from Campbellsville, a former analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigations and has served in the Senate since 2015. He was named chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and is on several insiders’ short-lists for state lawmakers on the rise.

Ryan Quarles The Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner insists he will run for a second term in office, but many say don’t count him out if a spot opens up. Quarles served in the state legislature from 2011 to 2016. Quarles is highly educated with numerous degrees, including a Masters from Harvard. Quarles won with a huge margin of the vote in the 2015 statewide election for his first term in office.

Allison Ball The Kentucky Treasurer is the only female to make the list of potential entrants into a run for the Governor’s Mansion. Ball was the highest vote getter in the 2015 statewide election. She could be poised to capture a portion of the youth population the right has been missing in recent cycles.

Scott Jennings Kentucky political operative and PR guru Scott Jennings is connected to virtually everyone needed to run a statewide race in GOP politics. Jennings is a founding partner for RunSwitch PR and served as an aide to former President George W. Bush and as a top advisor on multiple campaigns. His name id continues to rise as he appears on CNN frequently as a commentator.

Judge Executive There could also be a contender coming from the local level, like Judge Executive Gary Moore in Northern Kentucky. Moore formerly ran for the 4th District Congressional seat in a special election.

Business person X Look for a potential candidate to come from the business community that could contribute a lot of personal wealth to a campaign. This candidate could be much like Bevin, Billy Harper or even Democratic candidate Bruce Lunsford. Someone like a Rubicon Global CEO and founder Nate Morris could fit this role in the campaign.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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