Tea party candidate Matt Bevin, who failed to unseat now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a primary, has announced he is running for governor. At his side on the ticket: Jenean Hampton, a tea party activist, Air Force veteran, and failed state House candidate who would be the state’s first black female lieutenant governor.
Both Bevin and Hampton have business backgrounds and have never held elected office. Hampton, who is based in Bowling Green, ran against the longest-serving state representative in Kentucky history, and lost. Her candidacy was endorsed by Rand Paul. Bevin’s candidacy makes him the fourth Republican in the race.
“There was much prayer involved. This wasn’t my plan,” Hampton told WKU Public Radio about running for state representative. “Sometimes you’re screaming at the TV, you see things that need to be improved, and you’re screaming that someone needs do something, well sometimes that someone is you.”
Kentucky Republicans’ inability to take the House last November was one of their few losses in the midterm elections, where McConnell eventually beat his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, by double digits.
Grimes declined to jump into the governor’s race this year, and is running for re-election as Secretary of State. Attorney General Jack Conway, who unsuccessfully ran against Rand Paul for Senate in 2010, is running for the Democratic nomination for governor. Incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear, who enthusiastically implemented the Affordable Care Act to national acclaim, is term-limited.