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What if they held a primary election, and no one ran? That's a question Kentucky Republicans must be weighing as the March 30 filing deadline for the state's May 24 primary draws near. So far, Democrats have fielded three candidates, Republicans none. Democrats hold more than a 2 -to-1 edge over Republicans in party registration. But that hasn't kept the two parties from waging vigorous battles for the Kentucky governorship. That's because Kentucky's governor is among the nation's most powerful state chief executives, thanks to the state constitution and the way the government has evolved. (Incumbent Democrat Gov. John Y. Brown is barred by law from seeking reelection.)

If no serious GOP candidate emerges, Republicans would hand the governorship by default to the Democrats for the first time in anyone's memory.m

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