Matt Bevin, the tea party candidate who lost a primary challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has filed to run in the Republican primary for Kentucky governor.
The Louisville businessman announced he'd selected Gulf War veteran Jenean Hampton as his running mate; if elected, she'd be the first black female lieutenant governor in Kentucky history.
"It is not a decision I have made lightly, but rather, after careful consideration of all the variables currently in this race," he said in a statement, The Hill reports.
"I believe that Jenean and I are the right leaders with the right ideas and experience to lead Kentucky forward."
Bevin joins a crowded field for the May 19 Republican primary, including the state's agriculture commissioner, James Comer; Louisville businessman Hal Heiner; and former Supreme Court Justice Will Scott, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
The National Journal notes
the state hasn't had a GOP governor since Ernie Fletcher was ousted after one term in 2007, and over the past 50 years, Republicans have held the state's top spot for only eight.
But some believe 2015 could be the GOP's year, with popular Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear retiring after two terms, and Republicans making gains down the ballot in recent years, the National Journal reports.
Missouri and West Virginia are still run by Democrats, but from Arkansas to Florida, Republicans have a gubernatorial shutout.
"The trend, if you graphed it, is going straight down," former Kentucky state Democratic Party Chairman Danny Briscoe told the National Journal. "There are a lot of people who think that direction is inevitable, and if we get a Republican governor, it will be inevitable."
But Trey Grayson, Rand Paul's 2010 Senate primary opponent, warns the primary could be brutal.
"They'll beat each other up," he tells the National Journal. "Even if they're all good candidates, we'll have four months having a family feud, or at least a family discussion, and that's going to put [Democrats] in a good position."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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