LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
FRANKFORT — Democrat Adam Edelen announced Wednesday he won’t run for governor next year and will instead seek re-election to a second term as state Auditor of Public Accounts.
Edelen, 39, is a former chief of staff to Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear who is ineligible to seek a third term. His decision leaves Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway as the only announced Democratic candidate for governor so far and a clear favorite for his party’s nomination next spring.
Louisville businessman Hal Heiner has announced he is running for the Republican nomination for governor next year while Republican Commissioner James Comer is also expected to throw his hat in the ring later this year.
Word had circulated recently that Edelen was considering bypassing the race because of family considerations. He’s married and has 8-year-old twin sons from a previous marriage.
“The reality is that campaign would require difficult sacrifices of my family and from my work as Auditor,” said Edelen in a statement released by his press secretary. “These are sacrifices I’m unwilling to make at this time.”
He didn’t rule out a future run for the state’s highest office.
Edelen said recently that he had organized a campaign structure, including an unnamed running mate for lieutenant governor which is a legal requirement to begin raising and spending money on a governor’s race in Kentucky.
“I greatly appreciate the expressions of encouragement and support from across the Commonwealth as I explored a race for governor,” Edelen said. “Those well-wishes mean more than I can ever express.”
But that encouragement wasn’t enough to overcome his concerns about the time away from his sons and family during a grueling, year-long campaign and, should he be elected, potentially eight years in the governor’s office.