Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

March 4, 2014

Heiner announces bid for governor in 2015

By RONNIE ELLIS
CNHI

FRANKFORT — Louisville businessman and Republican Hal Heiner on Tuesday became the first official candidate for Kentucky governor in 2015, announcing he will run with Republican national committee woman and state party treasurer K.C. Crosbie of Lexington, who will run for lieutenant governor.

Heiner, 62, a real estate developer who lost a narrow election for Louisville mayor in 1997, is a champion for charter schools and touts his ability to create jobs.

“Kentucky is at a crossroads, in desperate need of strong leadership and innovative thinking,” Heiner said after being introduced by Crosbie at the Lexington event.

“This will be a campaign about big ideas and lofty goals,” Heiner said. “If we bring innovation and a change of culture to Frankfort, I know for certain that we can make Kentucky economically competitive, create jobs and make our education system the envy of the nation.”

Heiner is the first official entrant into the 2015 governor’s race which has been overshadowed thus far by the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate. Incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear is in his second and final term as governor.

But Heiner isn’t the only one openly talking about running to succeed Beshear. Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he plans to decide soon but won’t formally enter the race until after the November elections determine if incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell holds onto his seat and whether Republicans can wrest control of the state House of Representatives from Democrats.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Cathy Bailey of Louisville says she is also exploring a race. On the Democratic side Attorney General Jack Conway, Auditor Adam Edelen, former Auditor Crit Luallen, and former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo have indicated an interest in running.

Kentucky campaign law requires candidates for governor to have a running mate before raising money.

Crosbie, 44, is Kentucky’s Republican national committee woman and treasurer of the Republican Party of Kentucky. Some Comer supporters have suggested Crosbie should resign those positions but RPK Chairman Steve Robertson has said there is nothing in the party’s by-laws which prevents Crosbie from running while holding the party positions.

Crosbie lost a narrow race to Democratic state Treasurer Todd Hollenbach in 2011 and like Heiner she has experience in urban government, having served on the Lexington Metro Urban Council. Between them, they represent the two largest cities in Kentucky.

“Changing leadership, the direction of Frankfort will be tough,” said Crosbie. She said Democratic “insiders” will work hard to hold onto power. “Our goal during this campaign will be to make the status quo uncomfortable, offering fresh ideas on fixing problems.”

Crosbie said she’d been in discussions with Heiner for “several months,” but he only asked her to join his ticket “several days ago.” She came to see him as “a man of faith who has led by example,” Crosbie added.

Heiner is a graduate of Atherton High School in Louisville and the University of Louisville who founded Capstone Realty. He was a member of the Louisville Metro Council from 2002 to 2010. He is chairman of the Kentucky Charter Schools Association and Christian Academy of Louisville.

Crosbie is a graduate of the University of Kentucky who is married to one-time Lexington mayoral candidate and attorney Scott Crosbie.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.