Earlier today, news broke that the Democrat’s have launched the 2015 campaign for Agriculture Commissioner with candidate Jean Marie Lawson-Spann. However like the SOS office, many questions surround the future of the Agriculture seat. This on-top of the fact that current Commissioner James Comer will likely seek the Republican nomination for Governor, the establishment GOP may be forced to accelerate their search process.
Something tells me that they won’t have to look too far for a strong candidate. As we obsess over here at BGConservative, let’s consider our options:
State Senator Paul Hornback –
This freshman State Senator has spent nearly his entire first term cozying up to Commissioner James Comer. Hornback was a key lawmaker to the Agriculture Department’s recent push to bring hemp back to Kentucky. He currently serves as the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and resides in one of Kentucky’s fastest growing communities (Shelby County). Though not as charismatic as Comer, Hornback is a doer. The odds of Hornback running are high!
Shelby Co. Judge Exec Rob Rothenburger –
Rothenburger introduced himself to statewide Republicans during a failed bid for Agriculture Commissioner in 2011. Though Rothenburger won just 9 counties (tied in a 10th), his statewide appeal should not be discredited considering he faced Comer. He certainly has a desire to run for higher office, but Hornback (who is Rothenburger’s State Senator) decision may impact his own come 2015.
Rep. Ryan Quarles –
Stay with me here. Rep. Quarles is a rising star witihn the Republican ranks. He pulled an upset over a well-established Democrat to gain his seat in 2010, won a hard-fought victory in 2012 and is bracing for another battle this fall. Quarles comes from a recently GOP-reliable community in Georgetown and is allied with Senator Damon Thayer (who is also considering 15′ options). The Representative was very helpful in delivering Comer a victory in Scott County in both the primary and general elections of 2011. He is a member of the Interim Agriculture Committee and House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Small Business. A Quarles candidacy would excite many.
State Senator Sara Beth Gregory –
Like Quarles, a Gregory candidacy isn’t likely… but it could make sense. Sara Beth went from Rep. to Sen. what seemed overnight. She is extremely well-liked by her colleagues on both sides of the isle in Frankfort, but suffered an unexpected setback at the hands of redistricting. The establishment would rally behind a Gregory comeback as Agriculture Commissioner but likely won’t get the chance. For what it’s worth, Gregory’s agriculture background is highlighted by service on the Wayne County Fair & Horse Show Board of Directors her now former position as Vice-Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture. Not to mention, King Hal (Not Heiner) seems to care a lot about the Agriculture Commissioner’s office lately.