We didn’t know this was coming.
LEO’s founder and U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth, who has represented Louisville in the House of Representatives for the last decade and a half, announced yesterday that he will retire at the end of his current term.
By the end of the day, LEO’s former owner and John’s son, Aaron Yarmuth, told the Courier Journal that he was “considering” running for the seat.
Before the news about Aaron Yarmuth broke, the race to fill John’s seat was already heating up. Less than 10 minutes after John Yarmuth announced his retirement, Kentucky’s Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey announced that he would be running. State Rep. Attica Scott is already in the race, having announced her campaign in July.
Over at LEO, we’ve heard murmurings that Aaron might run, just like everyone else, but since he sold LEO in June to Euclid Media Group, there’s been limited contact between him and the publication.
Personally, I (LEO’s managing editor) haven’t spoken with him since the transition. But I called him up this morning to try to get a bit more insight in terms of where he is in the process.
Today, he told LEO that he’ll be spending the next few weeks getting advice from people he trusts before he announces whether he plans to run for the seat, which his father will be departing in 15 months.
“Even though I’ve know my dad’s plans to retire, pretty much longer than anybody, I haven’t been able to have the conversations with family and friends that I would need to have confidence in any decision I would make, just because I couldn’t risk breaking his announcement, his news,” he said. “I plan on spending the next week or so having those conversations, and just getting a sense from those who know me best, and who I trust, that I could have confidence in whatever decision that I make.”
Yarmuth also said that because of his proximity to his father, he knows how fully committed he has to be before jumping in, and yesterday’s scramble of announcements and talking with the media reminded him of the intensity.
“I always knew this would take a Herculean effort and really overwhelm my time, everyday, for seven days a week,” he said. “Both as a candidate and if elected to serve. [Yesterday], the amount of time connected to the phone and trying to walk my son, while also talking with reporters, it kind of clouded my lens for my enthusiasm for that part of the job, but I always knew that was the case. One of the old cliches about how little Congress works, while funny, I know first hand that couldn’t be further from the truth, because it really is a seven-day-a-week job, and I know how hard my dad worked and campaigned.”
In a video posted to social media on Tuesday, John Yarmuth, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said he is in excellent health, but that he will be 75 years old at the end of his current term, and he wants to spend more time with family instead of seeking another term.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the confidence you have placed in me,” he said in the video. “I urge you to immediately direct your energy to making sure Kentucky’s next 3rd District representative, mayor, Kentucky legislators, school board members, judges and, of course, next U.S. senator, reflect the values that we have fought for for the last 15 years. There is always more to do, and it will take all of us to get it done.”
We’ll have more about Aaron Yarmuth’s potential run and an analysis of the coming election in a story later today.