UPDATED: Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles jumped into the Republican primary field for governor over the weekend as more interest swirls in the race.
Quarles announced his run for governor in an unconventional fashion at a closed-press Fayette County Republican Reagan Dinner on Saturday night.
The 38-year-old, term-limited Agriculture Commissioner’s run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination has been no secret, but the timing is interesting. Quarles enters the race as Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is also eyeing the GOP primary, and is rumored to soon make an announcement of his own.
“With the growing anticipation surrounding who will run for Governor in 2023, I wanted to leave my supporters with no doubt about my intentions,” Quarles said in a statement on Monday. “That is why on Saturday night, in front of long-time friends and allies at the Fayette County Lincoln Day Dinner, I announced my intentions to run for Governor.
“After a period of unprecedented political division in Frankfort, I want to unite Kentucky,” he continued. “I look forward to bringing my message of a shared vision of economic growth, investment in infrastructure and education, and less government intrusion in our lives, jobs, and schools to voters across the state over the coming months.”
With the May 17 primary races taking place, Quarles urged supporters to focus on those candidates.
“(F)or the next 16 days, I encourage my fellow Kentuckians to focus their time, energy and treasure on supporting their chosen candidates in May’s primary,” he said. “We need to make sure we send the strongest candidates possible into the general election to continue to grow our supermajorities in the General Assembly.”
That said, I would like to invite everyone interested in a brighter future for our Commonwealth to the formal launch of my campaign on June 1st in Georgetown. Together, we will defeat Andy Beshear and move our state forward.
Auditor Mike Harmon and former Northern Kentucky lawyer Eric Deters previously declared for the seat. Former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft is also a potential candidate, she could have to make up her mind on the race fast as former President Donald Trump makes his way to Kentucky on May 7 for a $75,000 per-person fundraiser during the Kentucky Derby.
Former Gov. Matt Bevin, Rep. Savannah Maddox, Sen. Max Wise, Sen. Ralph Alvarado, and Somerset Mayor Alan Keck are all also taking a look at the Republican primary race in 2023.