By RONNIE ELLIS
CNHI News Service
Republican Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green announced Tuesday he’ll seek re-election next year and is also taking himself out of the 2015 gubernatorial race.
Guthrie, 49, been rumored as a possible Republican candidate for governor in 2015, but in the news release announcing he’ll run for re-election next year, Guthrie said, “I am not running for any state office in 2015, although I was humbled by the number of people who asked me to run for governor.”
Guthrie served in the Kentucky state Senate for 10 years before running for Congress in 2008 upon the retirement of then incumbent Republican Congressman Ron Lewis.
One Democrat, Ron Leach, a retired U.S. Army officer who lives in Brandenburg, announced last week he will seek his party’s nomination to oppose Guthrie in 2014.
Guthrie also announced he raised more $571,752 during the last quarter for his re-election campaign and now has $1.5 million on hand. He also launched a video on his campaign website entitled “Next Time is Right Now.”
The video begins with snippets of television broadcasts, most from Fox News, criticizing President Barack Obama on taxes and the allegations that IRS mid-level officials unfairly targeted conservative groups for investigation.
Guthrie then appears against a blank background and asks: “Have you had enough of the mess in Washington? Me too.”
He says in the video that the nation’s “crushing debt” is undermining the economy and says “it’s time to cut spending, not sometime in the future — now.” He then goes on to ask viewers who agree with him to donate to his campaign.
Guthrie repeats some of the lines from the video in his press release.
“I went to Washington to solve big problems and to leave a better America behind for the next generation,” Guthrie said. “I’ve spent every day doing that and I feel that my time and energy is best spent on solving the big financial and economic problems we face as a nation.”
Guthrie who has voted consistently with the House Republican leadership criticized “the partisan back-and-forth” and said the public wants “leaders who truly care bout problem-solving and making sure their children have the chance to be educated, employed, and can lead a fulfilling life.”
The press release ends by with Guthrie saying the Republican Party “has many excellent people considering running in 2015 and I wish them well.”
Most prominent among the Republicans who have been mentioned as potential gubernatorial candidates is Agriculture Commissioner James Comer who introduced U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to a cheering Republican crowd at the recent statewide Lincoln Day Dinner. Stanford banker and Somerset native Jess Correll is also thought to be considering the race and some Republicans of late have mentioned first-term Sixth District Republican Congressman Andy Barr.
Republican activist and organizer, Owensboro insurance agent Todd Inman, said Guthrie’s public disavowal of interest in the 2015 governor’s race increases pressure on Comer to decide what he’ll do in 2015, but it also likely increases his chances to win the nomination if he chooses to seek it.
Inman also said he thinks it likely Correll will pursue the 2015 Republican nomination.
State Republican Party treasurer and national committee woman K.C. Crosbie said because Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is completing his second term several Republicans are likely to be interested in the 2015 race for the open seat.
She said Guthrie’s announcement “shows his commitment to serving his constituents in the Second District.”
Guthrie is an Alabama native whose family operates a manufacturing business Trace Die Casting in Bowling Green.
He is a 1987 U.S. Military Academy graduate with a degree in economics and he served as a Field Artillery Officer in the 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault at Ft. Campbell. He subsequently earned a Master’s Degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University.
He and his wife, Beth, have three children.
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.