Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson won’t run for governor in 2015.
Abramson, 66, announced the decision Tuesday in Elizabethtown. Earlier this summer, he told Kentucky Public Radio that he was considering a run and may decide around Fancy Farm, which was this past Saturday.
He said Tuesday that he wants to be an “education warrior” who helps the commonwealth develop a more skilled and educated workforce.
“Education is where I have my passion, and education is where I think I
need to be. And so, focus is really what really made me make the ultimate
decision that education is where I want to spend my time,” he said.
Abramson said he doesn’t have to be an elected official to champion a cause you’re passionate about. He lamented the reduced funding for postsecondary education in Kentucky, saying the rising cost of tuition is making higher education unaffordable for many residents of the Bluegrass State.
On Tuesday, Abramson said the decision has nothing to do with his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis, and that he wants to focus his energy on helping improve the state’s education system. Abramson’s wife, Madeline, announced recently that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer, but has a good prognosis.
Abramson was mayor of the old City of Louisville from 1986 to 1999. Four years later, he became the first mayor of the newly merged Louisville-Jefferson County government. He held that job for eight years.
In 2011, Gov. Steve Beshear selected Abramson to be his running mate, replacing Daniel Mongiardo. The Beshear-Abramson ticket handily defeated Republicans David Williams (then the state senate president, now a circuit court judge) and Richie Farmer (then the agriculture commissioner, now under indictment.)
Several possible candidates expressed interest —or have been rumored to be interested— in running for governor in 2015. Among Democrats, possible candidates include Attorney General Jack Conway, state Auditor Adam Edelen and former state Auditor Crit Luallen. among Republicans, possible candidates include state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and former Louisville mayoral candidate Hal Heiner.
We’ll have more on Abramson’s decision soon.
Kentucky Public Radio’s Lisa Autry and WFPL’s Joseph Lord contributed to this story.