LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth may be facing his toughest reelection challenge in years.

One hour before Tuesday's filing deadline, a prominent member of Gov. Matt Bevin's Cabinet, Health and Family Services Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, filed for the 3rd District Congressional seat.

Glisson's family and friends stood alongside her as she launched her surprise campaign to unseat Yarmuth.

"I want Louisville to succeed, and I want Louisville to become a city that is strong and robust," Glisson said.

Glisson has resigned as head of the largest agency in state government, where she served as Bevin's point person for his controversial plan to change the Medicaid program in Kentucky. Now she's challenging the incumbent in a heavily Democratic district.

"Many of those initiatives are initiatives that are going to help make Louisville strong and help Louisville to succeed," Glisson said.

Beyond what has now become a contested congressional race, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said the number of people running for office is surging this year.

"Nearly every race has got a challenger," Grimes said. "Few incumbents are going without primaries."

The interest has been fueled in part by a record number of teachers filing for office, of which there were more than 40 by early afternoon Tuesday.

Democrat Paula Clemens-Combs, a teacher in eastern Kentucky, is challenging an incumbent Republican senator. She said she is motivated by the pension crisis and by cuts in education funding.

"If you've seen the governor's budget proposals, it's very dire," she said. "It's very scary, actually."

Republican Tina Howard of Hardin County is filing for a state House seat. She's among what is believed to be record number of women running.

"There's women that are listening and want us to address some issues," Howard said.

Among the other higher profile names is Jim Stansbury, the chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party. He's challenging an incumbent in the traditionally Democratic 46th District.

"I feel that the conversation needs to be had, and I intend to participate in that conversation," Stansbury said.

Copyright 2018 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.