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Ky. ag commissioner Quarles announces 2023 bid for governor 

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is joining the field of candidates shaping up for the 2023 governor’s race.

Quarles is running on the Republican ticket. He made the announcement in an interview that aired Sunday on WKYT’s Kentucky Newsmakers with Bill Bryant.

“I’d like to announce that I will be running for governor in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2023 because the voters deserve a choice on Election Day, and they deserve a governor that’s going to bring us all together and unite Kentucky,” Quarles said.

Quarles is currently serving his second term as the state’s agriculture commissioner. Prior to being elected agriculture commissioner, he represented Fayette, Scott and Owen counties in the Kentucky General Assembly.

“I feel like I have a strong track record of executive leadership and I also feel a calling right now, that, if I could, provide Kentucky, if the voters would like, more public service and leadership in our state,” he said.

In the interview, Quarles praised Republican lawmakers and criticized Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes. He also said he feels Beshear is “vulnerable for reelection.”

The Republican has openly opposed Beshear’s decisions in the past. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he disparaged the governor’s restrictions and called for the full reopening of the state in 2021.

Kentucky’s state auditor Mike Harmon announced his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in July 2021. Harmon and Quarles are the only GOP candidates to file for the state’s highest office so far, though several other high-ranking Kentucky Republicans are expected to enter the race.

Beshear announced his bid for reelection in October.

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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