Former Metro Councilman Hal Heiner set to announce run for governor
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- They're off and running already in the 2015 Kentucky governor's race.
Louisville businessman and former Metro Councilman Hal Heiner is expected to jump out of the gate on Tuesday.
Heiner will hold two announcement events, one in Louisville and one in Lexington, creating an early jumpstart for the Republican campaign for governor.
Since Heiner lost the Louisville mayor's race to Greg Fischer in 2011, he has been championing education reform.
But, so far, his campaign for charter schools has been stymied in the General Assembly.
Now, Heiner wants to push his agenda from the governor's office.
"I think he became a little bit frustrated with the process and quickly concluded that if he really wanted these things to happen, the best way to do it would be for him to be the governor," said WDRB.com columnist John David Dyche.
Heiner will begin his campaign 14 months before the May 2015 primary and nearly two years before the general election.
It allows him to begin raising money and raising his profile.
"You get your name out there, you get your issues out there, you get known, and therefore you start building momentum," said University of Louisville political science professor Dewey Clayton.
Heiner's opponent in the Republican primary is expected to be Agriculture Secretary James Comer.
Comer tells WDRB that Heiner's announcement will not affect his timetable. He says he plans to wait until after this year's elections.
"I think Comer starts with the lead, and a fairly sizeable lead, but Heiner is trying to seize the initiative. We'll have to see how Comer responds," said Dyche.
Meantime, the Democrats are playing wait-and-see.
None of those known to be considering runs -- Attorney General Jack Conway, State Auditor Adam Edelen, and former Auditor Crit Luallen -- have indicated when they'll decide.
"I have not made a final decision, but we are considering the governor's race in 2015," said Luallen in Louisville last week.
But Heiner's move could alter everyone's plans.
"Because even if you could get away politically with letting someone else have the field to themselves, that's just not the way politicians like for things to be," said Dyche. "If someone else is out there running and raising money, they're almost instinctively compelled to get out there now and do it as well."
Heiner's running mate is rumored to be former Lexington Metro Council member K.C. Crosbie.
She lost a tight race for state treasurer to Democrat Todd Hollenbach in 2011.
You can read more of John David Dyche's take on Heiner's entry into the governor's race Tuesday on WDRB.com.
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