Surrounded by business associates, friends and political heavyweights such as Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry and 2nd District U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, Ben LaRue filed Wednesday morning to run for Elizabethtown mayor in the 2018 election.

LaRue is the first to file in the 2018 Elizabethtown mayoral race.

“We had until August, but we wanted to just get out and get started because it was probably the worst kept secret in town that I was going to run for mayor,” he said. “So, we just decided to make it official.”

LaRue, 55, is a native of LaRue County and has lived in Elizabethtown since 1994.

He owns Owen LaRue Financial Group, an investment management firm. In 2016, LaRue along with Kevin Addington and Carl Swope, who joined LaRue on Wednesday, created Eliza­beth­town Renaissance Associates LLC, focused on improving downtown Elizabethtown.

“When we formed our partnership, Elizabeth­town Renaissance Associates, that really made a big difference,” LaRue said. “When we did things individually, we were doing good stuff, but when we pooled our resources as a partnership, so much good stuff started to happen.”

“We all thought, ‘Just think, if we could get everybody in the city excited, creative and just energetic about moving the city forward,’” he added.

LaRue said that is why he decided to run for mayor. He said he is thankful for supporters who showed up as he filed at the Hardin County Government Building in Elizabethtown.

“We’re just very, very fortunate and I just want to build on everything all the previous administrations have done for us before and make E’town the best place to live, the best place to work and the best place to play,” he said.

Berry said LaRue is well known within the community, has been a contributor to the business community for decades, and is involved in volunteering.

“He’s been a long-term resident of the city and knows the issues and problems of the city,” Ber­ry said. “I think he’ll be a great leader for the city government.”

LaRue said he didn’t know if he would have any opposition. The filing deadline for Eliza­beth­town City Council and mayor is Aug. 14.

Candidates could begin filing Nov. 8 at the Hardin County Clerk’s Office in the county government building.

For offices on the bal­lot in the May 22 primary, the deadline to file is 4 p.m. Jan. 30. For offices only appearing on the general election ballot, the deadline to file is 4 p.m. Aug. 14.

The 2018 general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1741 or malford@thenewsenterprise.com.