The first Republican to make his candidacy for governor of Kentucky official will not be Gov. Matt Bevin but state Rep. Robert Goforth of East Bernstadt.
Goforth posted a message on Facebook Friday indicating that he will make an announcement about his political future at an event Tuesday morning in London, but the back end of his campaign website indicates that this announcement will be his run for governor this year with Michael Hogan, an attorney from Lawrence County who ran for attorney general in 2015.
The campaign website states that Goforth “is running for Kentucky’s Governor because he wants to give back to the state and the people that helped him be successful in life.”
Goforth is new to Kentucky politics, having first won an election to the state House in a special election last February and then winning the seat again in November by a margin of over 50 percentage points.
Noting that he is a veteran and pharmacist, Goforth’s website goes on to state that he “built his businesses from the ground up, building his pharmacies in Southeast Kentucky up from zero to multimillion dollars in annual revenues. Robert created over 30 jobs in his businesses for people in our region.”
Hogan, who also put up a Facebook post previewing an announcement about his political future on Tuesday, lost the close Republican primary for attorney general in 2015 to state Sen. Whitney Westerfield.
Goforth has prefiled 11 bills for the 2019 session of the Kentucky General Assembly, including a bill that would make performing an abortion after a heartbeat is detectable a Class D felony. He is also the co-sponsor of a bill to reverse a workers compensation bill passed by the legislature last year that he said created unfair hurdles for coal miners to attain black lung benefits.
During the 2018 session of the General Assembly, Goforth was one of a handful of Republicans who voted against Senate Bill 151, the controversial public pension bill that was eventually struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Gov. Bevin announced last summer that he will run for a second term this year but has not filed any paperwork to make such a run official or raise funds for such a campaign. Political observers have speculated that he may opt against a run and instead take a job with the Trump administration, but he has another three weeks before the deadline for 2019 statewide candidates to file for office.
Congressman James Comer, the Republican who lost by just 83 votes to Bevin in the Republican primary for governor in 2015, indicated last week that he would be interested in running for governor this year if Bevin opts not to run for re-election.
This story has been updated.