LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced he's running for the 6th Congressional District in next year's Democratic primary Tuesday.
"We need to bring people together. We need to reach across partisan lines. This is why I'm running for Congress. Now, Lexington, fortunately, Lexington's on the right path. Our country is not," Gray said during a stop in Richmond.
Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath, State Sen. Reggie Thomas, and Geoff Young have all said they are running in the primary. They're looking to challenge 3rd-term Republican Congressman Andy Barr.
The district covers 19 counties, with a wide range of demographics.
News of Gray's announcement has already made it's way to his competitors.
Democratic hopeful Geoff Young issued a statement saying in part, "Jim Gray and the crooked Kentucky Democratic Party are trying to throw the 2018 election to Congressman Andy Barr." Young went on to call Gray's 2016 platform "pro-war and neoconservative."
Candidate Amy McGrath struck a different tone, saying "I respect Mr. Gray's service and he has every right to run, but I learned as a Marine fighter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan to stay focused on my mission."
For his part, incumbent Congressman Andy Barr, responded to the announcement saying "All of the Democrat candidates running in this race support the extreme liberal Obama-Clinton-Pelosi agenda of more taxes, more regulations, and more government control, which has been repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected by voters."
With Gray's decision to run for Congress, it leaves the 2018 Lexington mayor's race wide-open.