Kimberley “Kim” Reeder was the Democratic nominee for Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts in the 2023 election. She challenged Republican incumbent Auditor Allison Ball but ultimately lost in the November general election.
So who is Kim Reeder and why did she decide to run for state auditor? Here’s an in-depth look at Reeder’s background, her 2023 statewide campaign, and what might be next for this Kentucky Democrat.
Who is Kim Reeder?
Kimberley Reeder, known as Kim, is an attorney and former educator based in Kentucky. She was born in 1968 in Louisville and graduated from the Kentucky public school system.
Reeder earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University in 1991 and went on to obtain a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University in 1998. That same year, she graduated with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
After law school, Reeder worked as legal counsel for the firm Campbell, Rogers, & Stacy PLLC. She also spent time as a faculty member with the prestigious Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program, teaching gifted high school students.
For over a decade, Reeder worked as a teacher and coach in the Rowan County Schools system. She taught social studies and language arts. This firsthand experience in Kentucky public education would later inform Reeder’s policy positions and priorities.
In addition to her career in law and education, Kim Reeder has been actively involved with numerous professional and community organizations over the years.
Reeder has served on the boards of the Rowan County Education Association and the Eastern Kentucky Education Association. She was also a member of the Site-Based Decision Making Council for Rowan County Senior High School.
In the legal field, Reeder has been active with the Kentucky Bar Association, including stints on the Debtor/Creditor Section Executive Committee and the Continuing Legal Education Commission.
Reeder lent her talents to various statewide causes as well, serving as a member of the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center’s Board of Directors and as a contributor to the Kentucky Youth Advocates organization.
Her diverse professional background and community involvement provided Reeder with useful experience and perspective for her eventual run for statewide office.
Kentucky Auditor Election, 2023
Kim Reeder set her sights on Kentucky Auditor in 2023, hoping to unseat Republican incumbent Allison Ball. However, Reeder came up short in the general election.
With no major primary opposition, Reeder coasted through the Democratic primary uncontested. The primary was even canceled since Reeder was the only candidate on the ballot.
This cleared the path for Reeder to take on Allison Ball one-on-one in November.
In the November 7 general election, Reeder faced off against Ball for the open Auditor seat. Due to Kentucky’s partisan leanings, Reeder was considered the underdog in the race.
Opponent: Allison Ball
Kim Reeder challenged first-term Auditor Allison Ball, who was initially elected in 2015. Ball previously served as a prosecutor and district court judge before running for state office.
As the incumbent, Ball had much higher name recognition across Kentucky. She also benefited from the state’s decisive shift toward Republicans in recent election cycles.
When the votes were counted on Election Day, Allison Ball defeated Kim Reeder handily, 61.5% to 38.5%.
Ball received over 531,000 votes statewide, compared to just under 333,000 for Reeder—a margin of victory exceeding 200,000 votes.
This result demonstrated Ball’s strength as incumbent as well as the difficult realities for Kentucky Democrats in the modern era. A Democrat has not been elected state auditor since 1991.
Campaign Themes and Priorities
However, as a Democrat in a conservative state, she likely focused on issues like expanding Medicaid, increasing education funding, and protecting reproductive rights. Creating jobs was also likely a key theme.
Without detailed policy positions directly from the candidate, it’s hard to precisely pinpoint what defined Reeder’s 2023 campaign. Her campaign website and social media provided limited insight into her vision and agenda.
In the end, Reeder was unable to defeat the Republican incumbent auditor, hindered in part by Kentucky’s rightward shift over the past decade.
The 2023 Kentucky Auditor race marked Kim Reeder’s first run for statewide elected office. She did have some prior experience as an elected official before setting her sights on state auditor.
Back in 2010, Reeder was elected to the Rowan County Board of Education, serving one 4-year term through 2014. She chose not to seek re-election after her first term.
This school board experience gave Reeder important perspective on education policy in particular. Her background as a longtime public school teacher also informed her work on the school board.
Beyond her tenure on the county school board, Reeder did not hold other elected offices before running for auditor in 2023. Her campaign website highlighted her status as a “political outsider” taking on establishment politicians.
As a Democrat, Reeder likely supported targeted tax increases aimed at the wealthy to fund key programs and services. This would align with the national Democratic platform.
Reeder’s education background suggests she favored boosting funding for public schools, including teacher pay raises. Early childhood education was another probable priority.
In terms of auditing, Reeder emphasized independence, accountability, and transparency as an auditor. She wanted to target wasteful spending across Kentucky bureaucracies.
On hot-button social issues like abortion and LGBTQ rights, Reeder likely held progressive Democratic stances favoring abortion access and LGBTQ protections. These positions contrasted with Kentucky’s recent conservative shift on social policy.
Reeder’s campaign website highlighted the historic nature of her candidacy as Kentucky’s first openly gay statewide nominee. This progressive milestone suggested her socially liberal views.
As an educator, Reeder also understood the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools. She likely supported expanded DEI programs to help all students thrive.
Little is known about Kim Reeder’s specific views on election policies like voter ID laws, voting access, and redistricting reform.
As a Democrat, she likely favored efforts to make voting more accessible through automatic voter registration, expanded early voting, and similar measures. Nonpartisan redistricting was another probable priority.
On the campaign trail, Reeder emphasized the need for the auditor to act independently without partisan bias. This suggested she valued fairness and transparency in carrying out elections.
Endorsements and Support
Details on Kim Reeder’s endorsements and backers in the 2023 campaign are sparse. As the Democratic nominee, she likely attracted support from groups like teachers unions, trade unions, and LGBTQ rights organizations.
The Democratic Attorneys General Association supported Reeder with a $1 million ad buy late in the race. This spending highlighted her background as an attorney and prosecutor.
Prominent Kentucky Democrats such as former Governor Steve Beshear likely endorsed Reeder against the Republican incumbent. The state teachers association was another probable endorsement source given her education background.
Without a clear list of endorsements, it is difficult to fully assess the breadth of Reeder’s campaign coalition. Her campaign website did not feature an endorsements page.
Beyond her professional career, who is Kim Reeder on a personal level? Here are some key details about her family, interests and priorities outside of politics and the law.
Reeder has two adult children, a son and daughter, who both grew up attending public school in Kentucky.
She has said her own parents, lifelong Kentucky Democrats, inspired her values and work ethic. They taught her the importance of education and serving one’s community.
Reeder credits her children and students over the years for giving her perspective on what’s at stake in fights for Kentucky’s future. She ran in 2023 to ensure opportunity for generations to come.
In her free time outside work and the campaign trail, Kim Reeder enjoys traveling, playing golf, and spending time outdoors hiking.
Reeder is an avid University of Kentucky basketball fan and relishes volunteer work at her local church. She also stays active with charity 5K races and community fundraisers.
Reading history books is another hobby for Reeder. She is particularly interested in biographies of iconic leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt.
In summary, while Kim Reeder came up short in her 2023 bid for Kentucky Auditor, her trailblazing campaign was historic and paved the way for future candidates.
As the state’s first openly LGBTQ nominee for statewide office, Reeder broke barriers with her courage to run as her authentic self. She gave voice to underrepresented communities and modeled integrity.
Though she lost to incumbent Allison Ball, Reeder vastly outperformed past Democratic Auditor candidates in terms of vote share. She earned over 330,000 votes – the most for a Democrat in this race since 1999.
Reeder’s background as an educator and community leader shined through in her inclusive, people-focused vision for Kentucky. Even in defeat, she exposed key differences between the major parties on issues like health care, education, and civil rights.
While the 2023 auditor’s race did not go her way, Reeder’s trailblazing campaign demonstrated that Kentucky progressives are energized. She is well-positioned to continue impacting Kentucky’s future through law, education, and civic engagement.
The Bluegrass State hasn’t seen the last of Kim Reeder.
Q: What was the final vote tally in Kim Reeder’s 2023 Kentucky Auditor race?
A: Republican incumbent Allison Ball defeated Kim Reeder by a margin of 61.5% to 38.5%. The final totals were 531,650 votes for Ball and 332,764 votes for Reeder.
Q: How much money did Reeder raise for her 2023 campaign?
A: Details on Reeder’s exact fundraising totals are unavailable. As the underdog challenger, she was likely outraised by incumbent Auditor Allison Ball.
Q: What previous elected offices did Kim Reeder hold before running for state auditor?
A: Reeder’s only prior elected experience was one term on the Rowan County Board of Education from 2010 to 2014. She ran for auditor as a “political outsider.”
Q: What were some of Reeder’s main campaign themes and policy priorities?
A: Reeder did not complete thecourtdrect survey so her campaign platform is unclear. But as a Democrat, she likely focused on education, health care, jobs, and social justice.
Q: Will Kim Reeder run for office again in the future?
A: Reeder has not announced definitive plans, but after her barrier-breaking 2023 campaign she could pursue other statewide or legislative offices in Kentucky down the road.