FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) — Former Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has become the first Democrat to declare himself a candidate for attorney general, a position he previously held before running unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor a decade ago.Stumbo made the announcement on Lexington’s WKYT-TV on Saturday.
Stumbo, who lost his re-election bid for state representative two years ago in a Republican surge, had largely dropped off the political scene. He had served as House speaker for nine years.
The 67-year-old served as attorney general in Kentucky from 2004-2008, dogging then-Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration with grand jury investigations that left him weakened politically and prevented him from winning a second term.
Stumbo told the television station he wants to be the state’s top law enforcement official so that he can crack down on pharmaceutical companies that he blames for causing the opioid epidemic in Kentucky.
“I’ve got a passion about solving that problem,” Stumbo said. “I want to see those people who brought this plague upon Kentucky’s families, I want to see them brought to justice.”
Stumbo had previously said he was looking at possible run for attorney general after incumbent Andy Beshear announced he would run for governor.
Another frequently mentioned potential Democratic candidate for attorney general is Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has served the past eight years as secretary of state. Grimes had her first baby last week. Stumbo’s entry into the race could be a sign that Grimes may opt out, because Stumbo and Grimes are close political allies.
On the Republican side, state Sen. Whitney Westerfield, an attorney from Hopkinsville, has said he intends to run for attorney general.
This next year, I will work hard to earn the privilege of serving our commonwealth as the next attorney general,” Westerfield said. “I will listen to our residents, ask the tough questions, and continue to foster a more transparent state government.”