One of the last lines in Bill Dieruf’s concession speech in the race for Louisville mayor was a potential indication that he was not finished in the public arena, but could that arena include a spot on a Republican gubernatorial ticket with Ryan Quarles?
Dieruf had a strong showing in the Louisville Mayor’s race this November and Jefferson County comprises a significant statistical quadrant of the GOP electorate in the May primary., which could explain part of the appeal in a strategic alliance.
In 2015, there were just over 214,000 ballots cast statewide in the GOP primary. In 2019 the total number of GOP ballots in the primary rose to nearly 260,000 – a slim number compared with the nearly 1.6 million registered Republicans in the state. Breaking down the numbers even further you begin to see the importance of Jefferson County in the race. In 2019, there were 34,000 Republican ballots cast in Jefferson County.
Now consider the field, with 12 or more candidates running in the GOP primary 15 to 20 percent of the vote could decide the Republican nominee. Meaning every vote counts, and if you can control the Jefferson County portion of the vote it could decide the whole game.
Aside from the strategic importance, fueling the speculation that Quarles is eying Dieruf are instances where the two have begun showing up together. The latest came on Monday at an event honoring Republican wins to the state House in southwest Louisville hosted by state Sen. Dan Seum. Dieruf and Quarles were seen entering the event together.
Quarles’s campaign is tight-lipped about a potential running mate in Dieruf, declining to comment for this article.
A change to state law allows candidates to pick running mates after the May primary, but some candidates are seeing strategic advantages to name their pick for Lt. Governor early. Former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft named state Sen. Max Wise as her running mate weeks after declaring her candidacy.
In a crowded field, every space is being eyed, and geography could very well come into play. For now, whether or not that means Bill Dieruf will add to that drama is yet to be seen.