FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) — Kentucky’s next primary election is set for May 16, and the Kentucky governor candidates are full steam for their primary elections. The general election is set for November.
In May, Kentuckians will be able to decide who they wish to represent their party in the general election. Democrats will choose between incumbent Andy Beshear and two other candidates, while Republicans have a cluttered field of 11 candidates, many with experience the state and federal levels of government.
A recent poll showed Beshear had a relative lead over all of his GOP opponents, but Attorney General Cameron did have the lowest margin of loss.
Andy Beshear (Incumbent)
Politician and lawyer, Gov. Andy Beshear has served as Kentucky’s governor after winning a tight race against Matt Bevin in 2020. Beshear has served Kentucky through a difficult time as COVID-19 ravaged the country and both western and eastern Kentucky were hit by natural disasters.
The 45-year-old is from Louisville but now lives in Frankfort.
Geoff Young is a Democratic nominee who has ran for multiple offices, including two bids for governor, one in 2015 and another in 2019. He is campaigning mainly as an opposition or alternative choice to Beshear. He has been vocal about his support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Peppy Martin, first ran as a Republican in 1999 before switching parties and running for Kentucky’s top political post as a Democrat for 2023. The 76-year-old is from Glenview and is campaigning on legalizing cannabis and eliminating the income tax.
Somerset Mayor Alan Keck has served as the mayor of Somerset since 2019, where he has worked to revitalize the downtown Somerset area through new business investments, like the reservations to The Virginia Theater. Keck is campaigning on a platform of investment, tourism, Christian family values, and public safety.
Bob DeVore, from Louisville, has previously run for Jefferson County clerk and the House of Representatives District 46.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron was elected to attorney general in 2019 and was the first Black person to be elected to the position in Kentucky’s history. Cameron challenged many of Beshear’s COVID-19 policies, defended the anti-abortion laws in Kentucky, and worked to keep transgender athletes out of gender-affirming sports teams.
The 37-year-old was raised in Elizabethtown and is polling as a key GOP challenger against Beshear.
David Cooper is a Kentucky Army National Guard service member who lives in Independence according to his campaign website. His campaign is leaning on his military experience saying, “We need the solid, core values the military instilled in me to bring to Kentucky leadership.”
Dennis Ray Ormerod
Dennis Ray Ormerod is from Louisville.
Eric Deters, From Independence, is campaigning as a supporter of President Donald Trump and enemy of career politicians, calling for an end to Mitch McConnel’s long political career.
According to Jacob Clarks Ballotpedia entry, he is a Baptist from Leitchfield and has worked as an engineer. He previously ran to represent District 18 in the House of Representatives in 2022 and 2020.
Johnny Ray Rice
Johnny Ray Rice is from Berry. Rice was a key member in the 2021 Patriot Rally at the Kentucky State Capitol.
Kelly Knight Craft
Former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft worked with President Donald Trump. According to Ballotpedia, Craft was the finance chair for the Republican Party of Kentucky from 2004 to 2005, and helped to raise money for Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky.), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.). During the 2004 presidential campaign, she was a fundraiser for President George W. Bush.
Craft set a fast pace for fundraising and spending in late 2022, overtaking her Republican rivals and pouring more than $1 million into her campaign.
State Auditor Mike Harmon, from Harrodsburg, is currently on his second term as Kentucky State Auditor after being elected in 2015 and also served District 54 in the House of Representatives for 13 years.
Robbie C. Smith, from Berea, is a math teacher. He is campaigning as an anti-abortion Christian and father.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, from Scott County, is serving his second term as commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, first elected in 2015.