Wise mentioned as potential Governor candidate

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By Zac Oakes


Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, is just finishing up his first term as Senator for Kentucky’s 16th District, and he is running again for the seat in November, where write-in candidate Nicole Britton is challenging him. 

During Wise’s first term in the state legislature, his first venture into public office, he has turned some heads among those involved in Kentucky politics and has done so enough to garner speculation that he could potentially be a candidate for Governor of Kentucky in 2019. 

Nick Storm, of Spectrum News, recently released a list of Republicans who could potentially run for Governor in 2019, with one caveat: if current Governor Matt Bevin opts not to seek a second term. Bevin has not yet made clear what his intentions for 2019 and beyond are, but his decision to seek re-election (or not seek re-election) will likely play a major role in the decisions of other prominent Republicans in Kentucky, as they would have to challenge Bevin in a primary race in order to potentially advance to the November General Election. 

Wise was mentioned on the candidate short list, along with 10 other potential candidates. 

“The state Senator for the 16th Senatorial district seems to be a man on the rise,” Storm wrote. “Wise is from Campbellsville, a former analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigations and has served in the Senate since 2015. He was named chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and is on several insiders’ short-lists for state lawmakers on the rise.” 

When asked about his inclusion on the list and what it could mean for his future politically, Wise said that he was “honored” to be mentioned with so many other influential individuals. 

“I am very humbled to be mentioned on a potential gubernatorial shortlist with some very influential people, especially given my short time in public office,” Wise said in a text message to the Central Kentucky News-Journal. “I love serving my constituents and representing this district to the best of my ability. Decisions to run for a higher office like that come down to prayer, family discussions, and if it is the right time and the right opportunity.” 

Other candidates mentioned on Storm’s short list of potential candidates: U.S. Rep. James Comer, who represents Kentucky’s First Congressional District—which includes Taylor County; Brett Guthrie, from Bowling Green, who represents Kentucky’s Second Congressional District; Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, U.S. Reps. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, Andy Barr, R-Lexington, and Thomas Massie, R-Grayson, among others. 

This isn’t the first time that Wise has been mentioned as a candidate for a state-wide office up for election in 2019. Wise was also mentioned as a potential candidate for Kentucky Secretary of State last summer, the position currently occupied by Alison Lundergan-Grimes. 

“I am very humbled when my name gets mentioned for any statewide office,” Wise told the CKNJ in July. “Or anything involving Senate leadership. That is very humbling that people would mention my name.”