Westerfield, Ball and Quarles form GOP down ballot for the general election

05/20/2015 12:51 AM

As a recanvass takes place to determine the top of the ballot for the GOP, down-ticket candidates now have a slate to face Democrats in November.

In the race for attorney general, Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville bested Lawrence County Attorney Mike Hogan by 12,217 unofficial votes.

“I’m thankful that Republicans of Kentucky have selected me as the Republican attorney general nominee,” Westerfield told Pure Politics in a phone interview Tuesday evening.

Westerfield said that Hogan was “very gracious in his concession call.”

“I want to thank Mike Hogan. He ran a positive campaign,” Westerfield said, adding that Hogan offered to help in some eastern Kentucky counties.

Westerfield will face Democratic nominee Andy Beshear, who ran unopposed in the primary and has gathered serious money for his November campaign.

Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Patrick Hughes congratulated Beshear on the unopposed victory in an email sent to the press.

In a statement, Beshear said he entered the race to protect Kentucky families and communities.

“Over a year ago, I entered this race because I am committed to addressing the serious challenges Kentucky families face. From epidemic levels of child abuse to combating the spread of heroin, I will fight every day to stand up not just for my kids, but for all of Kentucky’s children and families,” Beshear said.

“There are many challenges our next Attorney General must address and I welcome a campaign focused on how this office can build stronger families and safer communities across the Commonwealth.”

Westerfield told Pure Politics that he “doesn’t expect to catch” Beshear in fundraising, but he said the governor’s son will need every penny to “explain away his complete lack of experience for the job.”

Agriculture commissioner drama

Despite an apparent 1,427-vote spread according to the Kentucky State Board of Elections’ unofficial vote totals, the election of Rep. Ryan Quarles as the GOP nominee for agriculture commissioner will likely head to a recanvass.

Rep. Richard Heath, who ran against Quarles in the primary, told the West Kentucky Star that the slim margin of victory for Quarles has him calling for the recanvass.

Heath told the paper that with Comer already requesting a recanvass that the secretary of state’s office could also take a second look at his race.

In a statement sent to Pure Politics, Quarles claimed victory and said he was “honored to be the Republican nominee for Agriculture Commissioner.”

“I look forward to carrying my vision for the future of the Department to Democrat, Republican and Independent voters across the state,” Quarles said. “I congratulate Richard Heath on a well-run race and look forward to his counsel this November. It’s time to unify Kentuckians for the fall.”

Heath told the newspaper that the recanvass would likely not change the outcome and that he would support Quarles in the general election.

State treasurer

In the race for the Democratic nomination for state Treasurer, Rep. Rick Nelson of Middlesboro will represent the party after making his way to the top of a five-person primary.

Nelson garnered 27 percent of the vote with the leading money raiser Louisville businessman Neville Blakemore cracking 22 percent in the unofficial results. Nelson also bested Rep. Jim Glenn of Owensboro; Daniel Grossberg, president of the Louisville Young Democrats; and former Rep. Richard Henderson of Mt. Sterling in the primary.

Prestonsburg bankruptcy attorney Allison Ball ran away with the Republican nomination for the office with nearly 47 percent of the vote in the primary.

Ball defeated western Kentucky state Rep. Kenny Imes of Paducah and former Fayette County Judge-Executive Jon Larson in the primary Tuesday.

Secretary of state

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes also cruised to victory on Tuesday, defeating her largely unknown primary challenger Charles Lovett. Grimes brought in 73 percent of the vote against Lovett.

In a statement, Grimes said she was “again honored to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for Secretary of State.”

“In just over three years, we have built a strong record of success that includes strengthening the state’s business climate and helping small businesses,” Grimes said. “More than 100,000 new business have started during my term. I remain equally committed to improving election administration while protecting the integrity of the process. I look forward to continuing our good work on behalf of all Kentuckians.”

Grimes faces northern Kentucky Republican Steve Knipper in the general election.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, 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 the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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