A look at the Down Ticket Kentucky Primary Races

The main event has been lined up with a dozen Republicans filed to compete for their party’s nomination for governor, but down-ticket there are fewer primary races.

The race for attorney general is pretty set for the General Election, with Republican Russell Coleman, the former United States Attorney facing Democratic Rep. Pamela Stevenson, a retired Air Force Colonel who served as a judge advocate (JAG). Current Attorney General Daniel Cameron is seeking the GOP nomination to run for governor.

Kim Reeder, a Morehead tax attorney, is the lone Democrat to file to run for Auditor of Public Accounts. On the GOP side, there is a primary race for this office, current Treasurer Allison Ball is seeking the Republican nomination for this statewide elected office. Perennial candidate Derek Petteys, a liberty-wing Republican, did not get the memo that this seat was spoken for and filed for the GOP primary. He challenged Congressman Andy Barr, R-Lexington, for the 6th District Congressional Seat in 2020. The Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts is charged with auditing the accounts and financial transactions of all spending agencies of the Commonwealth.

Primary races are taking place on both sides of the aisle for the position of Agriculture Commissioner. Sierra Enlow a graduate of LaRue County High School who works in the Louisville area as an economic development advisor is seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat against Winchester Democrat Mikael Malone. Republican state Rep. Richard Heath, of Mayfield, is facing off against former state Rep. Jonathan Shell, of Lancaster, in the GOP primary. The Commissioner of Agriculture is the head of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which helps direct activities and provides information for and about farming in Kentucky, one of the state’s largest industries. The Commissioner is responsible for helping expand agricultural markets, encourage rural economic development and promote Kentucky agricultural products.

Despite an incumbent, there is a primary for the position of Secretary of State. Current Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican, is seeking a second term in office. He faces two challengers for the seat in Stephen Knipper, who believes election fraud takes place in Kentucky. Also running in the GOP primary is Allen Maricle. Former state Rep. Buddy Wheatley, D-Covington, is the lone Democrat to file for the office. Wheatley was a casualty of Republican redistricting in the Nov. 2022 elections.

There are three Republicans competing in the race for state Treasurer. Lexington coffee-shop owner Andrew Cooperrider, who refused to close for in-person dining early in the pandemic, is running in the contest for the open-seat. Treasurer Allison Ball’s former chief of staff Dr. OJ Oleka has been busy bundling cash and endorsements since entering this race late last year. Mark Metcalf, a Republican from Lancaster, is also running for the seat. On the Democratic side of the aisle, Michael Bowman has a pass to the General Election. He was the Democratic nominee in 2019, he received more than 770,000 votes in the race garnering 39 percent of the vote. The Kentucky Treasurer acts as the state’s elected Chief Financial Officer and watchdog, ensuring that all state dollars are spent statutorily and constitutionally.

The primary takes place on May 16.