This was in Ashland's The Independent:
While there is no election in Kentucky this year, politics still is a hot topic in Frankfort, but it has not been the 2006 city, county and legislative races that have been making the news of late. Instead, observers are looking ahead to the 2007 gubernatorial race.
Gov. Ernie Fletcher already has said he will be a candidate for governor in 2007. That's hardly surprising. What would be surprising, and truly newsworthy, is if the first Republican governor in 32 years decided not to seek re-election.
Now Speaker of the House Jody Richards, who finished a close second to then-Attorney General Ben Chandler in the May 2003 Democratic primary race for governor has announced he will not run for governor in 2007. Instead, Richards, who was running a distant third in the 2003 primary before Bruce Lunsford dropped out of the race just days before the primary and threw his support to Richards, says he will remain as House speaker.
Earlier this year, Richards faced his first challenge as speaker and narrowly retained the post. The Bowling Green Democrat has been speaker since 1995, during which time the once-overwhelming Democratic majority in the House of Representatives has dwindled steadily.
With Richards out of the running, who will challenge Fletcher in 2007? Attorney General Greg Stumbo and Auditor Crit Luallen both are believed to have gubernatorial ambitions, but both could opt to seek re-election to their current offices rather than challenge an incumbent governor. That would leave Treasurer Jonathan Miller, who can't seek re-election in 2007, as one of the early favorites for the Democratic nomination in two years.
All this is just speculation, of course. At this point, we suspect that there are few people outside of state Democratic headquarters who are even thinking about the next governor's race. Indeed, one of the best things about an election-free year is that we don't have to think about politics.