Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Monday he is running for Kentucky governor with educator Jacqueline Coleman as his running mate.
Beshear, a Democrat, is the first candidate of either party to announce a candidacy for governor in 2019. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has not yet said whether he will seek re-election.
“As governor, I will work every day to bring Kentuckians together to tackle our most pressing problems,” Beshear said at a press conference Monday morning at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville.
Beshear, 40, became the state's 50th Attorney General in 2016, where he defeated Republican candidate Whitney Westerfield by a margin of less than 1 percent. His father, Steve Beshear, was governor of Kentucky from 2007 to 2015.
As tensions between teachers and Kentucky lawmakers grow after a tumultuous year filled with protests over pension reform legislation, Beshear's pick of Coleman for running mate sends a message.
"We will make public education a priority," he said Monday. "We will work to fund every single public school and every single public university to give opportunity to every child," he said.
"... I will continue to fight for our teachers. They will be respected, our state will keep our state promises to them, and they will have a seat at the table. ... Their voice is a critical voice."
Coleman, of Harrodsburg, is an assistant principal at Nelson County High School. In 2014, Coleman ran unsuccessfully to represent Kentucky's 55th House District. Her father, Jack Coleman, was a state representative in that same district — Mercer, Washington and parts of Jessamine County — from 1991 to 2004.
Since nearly the beginning of his term as attorney general, Beshear has repeatedly filed lawsuits challenging the legality of actions of Bevin, his father's successor as governor.
In 2016, Beshear won a lawsuit against Bevin over funding cuts to state universities. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the governor violated his executive power by cutting universities' budgets after funding had already been appropriated by the General Assembly.
Bevin's popularity is tanking pretty hard, and he's basically already pissed off everyone he'd need to have in his corner to get re-elected, so believe it or not I think Beshear can win. The last two years have been Beshear fighting Bevin anyway, so everyone's already used to it around here.
Whether or not people will actually show up in KY's infamous off-year gubernatorial election in 2019 is another thing, but I'm betting Beshear will do a better job of it than Jack Conway did.
Bevin may not run for a second term. Who the GOP does put up in his place in that situation could make things pretty interesting.
Keep an eye on this race.