LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Larry Forgy, a Republican stalwart who ran for governor three times in Kentucky, has died. He lost the governor's election in 1995, a heartbreakingly close race that he ultimately lost to Paul Patton.
His 1995 running mate, London attorney Tom Handy, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Forgy was an independent thinker and sometimes at odds with Republican leadership.
Forgy was 82-years-old when he passed but had been in bad health for the past few years. He suffered a heart attack in 2016.
His sister, Republican state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington, confirmed his death on her Facebook page and said he died early Thursday at University of Kentucky Hospital.
Kerr also said in her Facebook post that Forgy was "a devoted son, brother, father, and friend in addition to his long and distinguished career in law and politics. We are all heartbroken to lose this wonderful man who had a profound impact in Kentucky."
Kentucky politicians offered their condolences Thursday, praising Forgy's passion and dedication to his work.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that Larry Forgy was a "prominent Kentucky Republican who made an important mark on our state party...making it his life's work to serve the Commonwealth and its citizens."
He then added, "I know we will all miss his humor, lively speeches, and kind heart."
Mike Harmon, the Auditor of Public Accounts said in a statement, "His passion was for the betterment of our Commonwealth, and he dedicated much of his life in advocating for Kentucky."
And the Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said Forgy was a "pioneer in Kentucky Republican politics."
Quarles also added in his statement that Forgy was "one of the best off the cuff stump speakers I ever had the privilege of hearing, never hesitated to speak his mind, and served as an inspiration for many young conservatives growing up in Kentucky."