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Heiner schedules Tuesday campaign announcements

by Joe Arnold


Posted on March 3, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 3 at 6:58 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Louisville businessman Hal Heiner has scheduled two public events on Tuesday "regarding intentions for the 2015 Kentucky gubernatorial race."

As WHAS11 News first reported on Sunday, Heiner will announce his bid for governor and that former Lexington council member K.C. Crosbie will be his running mate, according to sources familiar with Heiner's plans.

The first public event is scheduled for 10:00am Tuesday at Star Manufacturing in Lexington.  A 5:30pm event is scheduled at Jordan Technologies in Louisville, a business located at Commerce Crossings, an industrial park developed by Heiner's company, Capstone Realty.

Heiner will become the first candidate to formally declare for the 2015 race. Other Republicans considering the governor's race include philanthropist Cathy Bailey of Louisville, the former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia, and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

Comer said Monday Heiner's pending announcement has no influence on his own timetable.

"I don't think there is any hurry to make a decision," Comer told WHAS11.  "I travel the state more than anyone and I can tell you there are very few people in Kentucky that are focused on the 2015 gubernatorial race right now."

Yet Comer cited a poll revealed on Sunday by the Lexington Herald-Leader that showed him with a 28 point lead over Heiner in the Republican primary.

"If we decide to run we clearly have a lot of support," Comer said.

The polling memo from a survey conducted February 26-27 by Robert Blizzard at Public Opinion Strategies was provided to the Lexington Herald-Leader.  It showed Comer leading Heiner 42 percent to 14 percent among 400 Republican primary voters:

Joe Burgan, an advisor to Heiner and spokesman for Heiner’s New Direction Kentucky Super PAC, said in an email that Comer, who has been to all of Kentucky’s 120 counties twice during his time as agriculture commissioner, should have polled better given his strong name identification.

“We are surprised that a statewide constitutional office holder who has spent the last three years campaigning across the commonwealth, and who spent 11 years in the legislature before that, would be so far below 50 percent against a relative unknown statewide,” Burgan said. “We are a little confused why they would choose to release a poll that shows their candidate in such a vulnerable position, but we are sure glad they did.”

In an e-mail to WHAS11, Blizzard said Bailey was not included in the poll.  Asked who commissioned the poll, Blizzard responded it was a Public Opinion Strategies survey.  He also told the Herald-Leader “the poll was not paid for by any candidate, prospective candidate or political action committee.”