32 File for State’s Top Offices

The deadline for candidates to file for the May 16 primary election in Kentucky was 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6. That deadline passed with 32 candidates filing for the commonwealth’s constitutional offices, including 15 candidates tossing their hats in the ring for a chance to serve as governor.

Three Democrats and 12 Republicans filed for the office of Kentucky governor.


  • Andy Beshear – Current governor and former attorney general
  • Peppy Martin – Former Republican who ran for governor in 1999
  • Geoffrey M. “Geoff” Young – Frequent Democratic candidate who last ran for 6th District Congress in the 2022 election


  • Daniel Cameron – Current Kentucky attorney general
  • Jacob Clark – Ran for Kentucky House of Representatives District 18 seat in 2022 primary
  • David O. Cooper – Kentucky National Guardsman
  • Kelly Craft – Former U.S. ambassador to Canada and the United Nations
  • Eric Deters – Attorney whose status with the Kentucky Bar Association is currently listed as suspended according to the KBA website
  • Bob DeVore – Former candidate for Louisville mayor, Jefferson County clerk, and Kentucky House of Representatives District 46
  • Mike Harmon – Current Kentucky auditor of public accounts
  • Alan Keck – Current Somerset mayor
  • Dennis Ray Ormerod – Louisville resident
  • Johnny Ray Rice – An organizer of January 2021’s Kentucky Capitol “Patriot Rally”
  • Robbie C. Smith –Berea resident and high school math teacher
  • Ryan Quarles – Current Kentucky commissioner of agriculture

Four candidates are seeking to become secretary of state. Former State Representative Charles “Buddy” Wheatley is the lone Democrat. Current Secretary of State Michael Adams is seeking reelection as one of three Republicans in the race. The other two are Stephen L. Knipper and Allen Maricle. Knipper, a former Erlanger City Council member, ran for secretary of state in 2015. Maricle is a former Pioneer Village City Council member who served as a state representative from 1993 to 1999.

The race for attorney general will feature Democrat Pamela Stevenson. She is a current member of the House of Representatives for District 43. She faces Republican Russell Coleman, who was selected to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky in 2017.

The race for state treasurer features Democrat Michael Bowman. Bowman ran for Jefferson County Clerk in 2018 and state treasurer in 2019. Three Republicans are seeking to become state treasurer. Andrew Cooperrider ran for Kentucky State Senate in 2022. Garrard County Attorney Mark H. Metcalf and Deputy State Treasurer O.C. “OJ” Oleka round out the field.

Three candidates filed to run for the office of auditor of public accounts. Attorney Kimberley “Kim” Reeder is the only Democrat in the race. Republican candidates include current Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball and 2022 U.S. House Kentucky District 6 candidate Derek Petteys.

A pair of candidates from each party filed to run for commissioner of agriculture. Democrats include Sierra J. Enlow, an Emerge Kentucky graduate, and Mikael Malone of Winchester. Republican candidates are state representative and chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Richard Heath and former State Representative and Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell, who served as campaign chairman for Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2020.

The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming primary election is April 17, 2023. The deadline to register for the general election is Oct. 9, 2023. Primary election early voting runs May 11-13. The absentee ballot portal will be open from April 1 through May 2. In-person absentee voting will be available May 3-5 and May 8-10. All voter services, including registration, change of party affiliation, sample ballots (when completed), and more, are available at GoVote.ky.gov.

For more election information, visit the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website.