The primary duty of the Kentucky State Auditor is to audit all state government accounts and financial transactions. This year's race has attracted attention because Kentucky's pensions for police, firemen and teachers are seriously underfunded. Kentucky Governor, Republican Matt Bevin, is the part owner of a hedge fund, and suits allege that Kentucky retirement systems have paid exorbitant fees to hedge funds and that their returns have been low and compromised by "placement agents" who advise governments on which funds to choose.
Sheri Donahue, the Democrat in the race, is a life-long Louisville resident who earned a degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue. She has worked for the U.S. Navy, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security where her career evolved into cybersecurity which led her into the private sector. In 2018, she ran for Kentucky State Senate in her Jefferson County District but was defeated by the incumbent Republican, garnering 46% of the vote contrasted with the 33% that the Democratic candidates received in the previous two elections. When she was running for the Democratic nomination for Senate, she told a WLKY interviewer that she was strongly pro-union and that she considered that what Governor Bevin was doing to the state pensions could be considered "theft." She told the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth Voter Guide, "I have stood up to billion-dollar defense contractors and Defense Department bureaucrats and won! Kentucky Bureaucrats and Matt Bevin do not scare me! As the auditor, my main goal will be to restore people's faith in government."
The Republican candidate, Mike Harmon, is the incumbent. He beat Democrat Adam Edelen in the 2015 election with 51% of the vote. Harmon was born in Harrodsburg and lives in Danville. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and worked in banking before becoming an insurance agent. Harmon is a seven-term member of the Kentucky House. In 2011, he ran and lost in the Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor on the ticket with Phil Moffett, a Tea Party activist. Their platform called for no new taxes, "school choice" and the repeal of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allows for public elections for the U.S. Senate. On the Vote Smart website, Harmon said his reason for running was to "replace liberal agenda items with conservative principles." As auditor, he was asked to disclose the contracts that the Kentucky Retirement System has with hedge funds and private equity firms over a year ago. He promised to do so over six months ago, but has not yet done so.
Libertarians nominate candidates when they believe that the Republican candidate is not "conservative" enough. Apparently wanting to repeal the 17th amendment is not enough. Their candidate is Kyle Hugenberg. He earned a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Cincinnati and a masters in accounting from the University of Louisville in 2013 and has lived in Louisville since then working as a Certified Internal Auditor for several companies.
This is a regular monthly feature in The Richmond Register -- a column by Madison County Democrats. None of these columns express the official positions of the Party.