Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has announced that his running mate during his re-election campaign this year will be Ralph Alvarado, a state senator and physician from Winchester.
The announcement came just four days before the deadline to run for office, January 29, and means that current Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton will not be on a ticket with Bevin again.
In a news conference on Friday, Bevin called Hampton “a dear and personal friend” but wouldn’t explain why he didn’t tap her to run with him again.
Bevin said that choosing a new running mate had been a topic of conversation for at least a year. He said that Alvarado’s story “is the American dream” and that the state senator would be a liaison to the medical community.
“He’s a guy who has relationships and strong ones with the very constituencies that are going to be imperative as we move forward. Not only politically, but in the private sector, in the medical community,” Bevin said.
First elected to the Kentucky Senate in 2014, Alvarado is the first Hispanic to serve in the Kentucky General Assembly. Alvarado’s father is from Costa Rica and his mother is from Argentina.
He has garnered a reputation for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and promotion of the medical review panel law, which was struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court last year.
In 2016, Alvarado was selected to speak at the Republican National Convention and encouraged Hispanics to vote for Donald Trump.
During Friday’s news conference, Alvarado said that he wants to help carry Bevin’s vision forward into a second term.
“I’m looking forward to the campaign ahead to let people know the accomplishments we’ve done. And the things we want to get accomplished in the state of Kentucky,” Alvarado said.
Kentucky Tea Party leaders had warned Bevin against dropping Hampton from his re-election ticket, according to a Courier Journal article from November.
So far, Bevin has one Republican challenger in the race for governor, eastern Kentucky state Rep. Robert Goforth.
First District Congressman James Comer has also hinted at running for governor, but has said he won’t challenge Bevin in a primary.
The deadline to run for statewide office in Kentucky is Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.