LOUISVILLE -- A former Miss America is among 19 candidates running in down-ballot races in Kentucky that include secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, treasurer and auditor.

In several races where the candidates agree on most issues, biography likely will weigh heavily in voters' minds.

Heather French Henry, who was crowned Miss America in 2000, has said her experience running the state Department of Veterans Affairs, with its 900 employees and $100 million budget, has given her the experience she needs to run the secretary of state's office.

That open seat drew the most challengers for the May primary, with four Democrats and four Republicans seeking to succeed Democratic incumbent Alison Lundergan Grimes. She can't run again due to term limits.

Henry, a Democrat, was veterans affairs commissioner under former Gov. Steve Beshear and served as deputy commissioner under Republican Gov. Matt Bevin until she resigned to run for office.

Other Democrats in the race include teacher and business owner Jason Griffith, former Air Force Capt. Jason Belcher and comic book artist Geoff Sebesta.

Candidates in the Republican primary include cybersecurity professional Stephen Knipper, who ran against Grimes four years ago; attorney and former Board of Elections member Michael Adams; former general counsel of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Andrew English; and former Secret Service agent Carl Nett, who lost a bid to be listed on the ballot with the nickname "Trump."

All of the Democratic candidates said during a Kentucky Educational Television forum that they favor making voter registration easier and restoring voting rights automatically for some non-violent felony offenders. They did not support stricter voter identification laws and opposed all or part of a new law that limits the secretary of state's authority.

Grimes has filed suit over the law, claiming the action by Republican lawmakers amounts to an unconstitutional infringement on her executive authority.

The lawsuit warns "confusion and uncertainty" will surround Kentucky's May 21 primaries unless the law is invalidated.

The suit seeks an injunction blocking the law's implementation, but a judge hasn't yet ruled.

The Republican candidates' stories could be what distinguish them from one another as well. All four GOP candidates stressed the need to clean up the state's voter rolls and say they support enacting a photo ID law at the polls. A photo ID is not currently required under Kentucky law.

Voters will pick party nominees for three other offices currently held by Republicans: agriculture commissioner, treasurer and auditor.

The only Republican incumbent to draw a primary challenger is Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. Hemp farmer Bill Polyniak says he's running in part to champion legislation that will benefit Kentucky farmers in the cannabis markets.

Quarles, meanwhile, touts the expansion of industrial hemp production during his four years in office as well as success in connecting famers to new markets and an initiative to feed the hungry.

Democrats vying for the nomination are Scott County farmer Robert Conway and Glasgow City Councilman and farmer Joe Trigg.

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