Heiner announces run for governor; Comer, Conway and Edelen weigh possibility

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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Businessman and former Louisville councilman Hal Heiner announced Tuesday he will enter Kentucky's 2015 race for governor.

Heiner, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for Louisville mayor.

"My goal is to make Kentucky first," Heiner said. "I'm a person that is driven by deep conviction and when I see that we're not realizing our potential, I have to act on those."

Heiner could face competition in the GOP primary from Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

Regarding a gubernatorial run, Comer told WYMT in a previous interview, "It's something obviously we're looking at. We're being encouraged by people all over Kentucky and I'm very flattered by that. I'm focused 100 percent on doing a good job as commissioner of agriculture."

On the Democratic side, Attorney General Jack Conway said in a recent taping of "Issues and Answers: The Mountain Edition" he will probably enter the race.

"There's a good chance I'll run," Conway said. "I'm obviously looking at it. For me the question will be, one, can I win? The polling numbers that I've seen and there have been a few numbers taken internally by the parties and other groups, looks like I'm in a very strong position."

State auditor Adam Edelen is another potential candidate for the Democrats.

"I'm deadly serious about running for governor," Edelen said. "And right now we're spending our time going out and talking to people, making sure we can run an aggressive, 120-county campaign to do things like bring prosperity back to Eastern Kentucky."

Kentucky's primary election for governor is still 14 months away.

Democrat Steve Beshear is currently serving his second term and is not eligible to run again.

Other possible candidates on the Democratic ticket are former auditor Crit Luallen and former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo.

(AP) Republican Hal Heiner says he wants to use his business experience to improve Kentucky's economy as the state's next governor.

The former Louisville councilman entered next year's governor's race at a campaign kickoff event Tuesday in Lexington.

Heiner, an engineer and developer, has recruited former Lexington-Fayette County councilwoman KC Crosbie as his running mate.

Heiner says Kentucky needs leadership and innovation. He says his "Kentucky First" campaign theme stresses his goal of improving the state's performance in job and personal income growth.

The 2015 Republican primary is about 14 months away.

Another potential Republican candidate is state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

Comer says he's in a strong position should he enter the race. For now, he says he's focused on helping Republicans running for office this year.

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