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Incumbents Have Great Night Throughout Kentucky, as Voter Turnout Slightly Exceeds Predictions

Tuesday was a very good night for Kentucky's incumbents. Of the dozen or so state House and Senate races we were following in the listening area of WKU Public Radio, no incumbents were defeated.

In the 9th Senate District, Republican David Givens of Green County won.

In Hardin County, Rep. Jimmie Lee easily prevailed in his 25th House race in Hardin County.

Sara Beth Gregory won her GOP primary in the 52nd House district that covers Pulaski, McCreary, and Wayne Counties.

In Daviess County, three incumbent House Democrats--John Arnold, Jim Gooch, and Jim Glenn--easily won their primary races.

Meanwhile, in the handful of US House primary races we were following, Charles Hatchett won the Democratic contest in the 1st District and will face Republican Ed Whitfield in the fall.

Incumbent 3rd District Democrat Rep. John Yarmuth easily won his primary, taking 87% of the vote.

In the 4th District, Thomas Massie won a 7-way race in the GOP primary, and will face Democrat Bill Adkins in the fall. Adkins won his primary with 69% of the vote.

In the 5th House District, Democrat Kenneth Stepp won his primary over Michael Ackerman 53% to 47%. Stepp will face GOP Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset in the fall.

In the 6th District, Andy Barr easily won his GOP primary, winning 83% of the vote. He takes on incumbent Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler in November.

Finally, Brandi Duvall unseated incumbent Warren County Circuit Court Clerk Pat Howell Goad.

Update at 9:10pm:

With 99% of Kentucky counties reporting, we can take a definitive look at tonight's voter turnout.

Turnout ended up higher than predicted, at 13.8%. The Secretary of State's office had predicted 10%.

For context: Kentucky has 2.98 million registered voters. So far, there are 411,685 recorded votes throughout the state.

Update at 9:06pm:

Here's one last look at Kentucky's two Presidential primaries:

With 119 of 120 counties reporting, Barack Obama has taken 57.8% of the vote. "Uncommitted" won 42.1% of the Democratic vote.

Mitt Romney won 66.7% of the Kentucky GOP vote, with Ron Paul winning 12.5%. Rick Santorum had 8.8%, and Newt Gingrich took 5.9%.

Update at 8:59pm:

In the 15th state Senate Republican primary, Chris Girdler has beaten six challengers. Girdler took nearly 50% of the vote. Mark Polston was second, with 40%.

Girdler faces no Democratic opposition in the fall, and will fill the seat being left by the retiring Sen. Vernie McGaha.

Also in the Pulaski County region, incumbent state Rep. Sara Beth Gregory easily beat back a GOP primary challenge by David Gover. Gregory took 69% of the vote, and faces no Democratic opposition in the fall.

Gregory's 52nd District House seat covers part of Pulaski, and all of McCreary and Wayne counties.

Update at 8:54pm:

Another incumbent has cruised to victory.

Sen. David Givens easily won his Republican primary race against Don Butler II. Givens took 76% of the vote in tonight's election, and will face no Democratic opposition in the fall.

Givens, a Greensburg farmer, represents the 9th Senate seat, covering Allen, Barren, Edmonson, Green, and Metcalfe counties.

Update at 8:52pm:

The Bowling Green Daily News reports that Brandi Duvall has defeated incumbent Pat Howell Goad in the race for Warren County Circuit Court Clerk.

Duvall took 2,532 votes versus Goad's 1,979. The paper says these vote totals are "unofficial."

Update at 8:46pm:

It was a good night for a trio of Daviess County state Representatives who faced Democratic primary challenges.

John Arnold, Jim Gooch, and Jim Glenn have all won their races handily. The closest race was in the 7th Rep. District, where Arnold beat challenger Jim Murphy 57% to 43%.

Gooch took 66% of the vote in his race, and Glenn claimed nearly 79% against his challenger.

Update at 8:41pm:

It looks like Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie will be the Republican nominee for the 4th US Congressional District race in the fall.

With 19 of 20 counties in, Massie holds nearly 45% of the vote. There are six other candidates in the GOP field, and none of them has more than 28%.

Massie will face Democrat Bill Adkins in the fall. Adkins easily beat Greg Frank in tonight's Democratic primary race. At last check, Adkins had 69% of the vote, with all but one county reporting.

The Massie-Adkins winner will go to Washington DC to fill the seat being left by the retiring Republican Rep. Geoff Davis.

Update at 8:37pm:

In Kentucky's 1st US Congressional District Democratic primary, Charles Hatchett has defeated James Buckmaster.

Hatchett, a real estate broker and auctioneer from Marshall County, won with 59% of the vote. Buckmaster is a Henderson family physician and Brescia University graduate who pulled 40%.

Hatchett will face incumbent Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield in the fall general election.

Update at 8:31pm:

Kentucky's 6th District US Representative, Ben Chandler, faced a very tough fight in 2009 against Republican challenger Andy Barr.

It looks like we're set for a rematch this fall.

In the GOP 6th District primary, Barr has a commanding lead with 82% of the vote. Chandler is facing no primary challenge and will have to face Barr again in November. In 2009, national Republican groups spent big money on Barr as he tried to unseat Chandler. Chances are they'll do the same thing this time around.

The seat Chandler fills was previously held by Ernie Fletcher, who left the US House to run for governor.

Update at 8:24pm:

In the Democratic Presidential primary, "uncommitted" continues to hang tough against President Obama.

That's a joke, of course, because the President faces no real primary opposition. Still, with 111 of 120 counties reporting, 41% of registered Democrats have voted "uncommitted", with 59% voting for Mr. Obama.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney has 67% of the vote in his party's Kentucky primary.

Update at 8:21pm:

Here's another look at voter turnout so far tonight: with 111 of 120 counties completely reporting, turnout currently stands at 11%.

The Secretary of State's office predicted 10% turnout.

There are 2.98 million registered voters in the commonwealth. So far, there are votes recorded for 328,760 of them.

Update at 8:12pm:

Let's take a look at the numbers in the US House, 5th Congressional District Democratic primary. The winner will take on Republican Hal Rogers of Somerset in the fall.

With 28 of 30 counties in, Kenneth Stepp leads Michael Ackerman 52%-48%.

Update at 8:09pm:

We now have some numbers from Daviess County to report. There are three state Rep. primaries in that area this evening.

In the 7th Rep. District, which covers parts of Daviess and Henderson, and all of Union, Democratic incumbent John Arnold leads primary challenger Jim Murphy 58% to 42%.

In the 12th Rep. District, which covers parts of Daviess and Hopkins, and all of McLean and Webster, incumbent Jim Gooch leads his primary challenger, Jim Nance, 59% to 41%.

In the 13th Rep. District, which covers part of Daviess, incumbent Jim Glenn is on his way to victory with 79%. His challenger is Jeremy Warfield.

Update at 8:01pm:

Chris Girdler leads the race in the 15th Senate District Republican primary. This is the seat that covers Adair, Casey, Pulaski, and Russell counties.

With four of four counties reporting, Girdler has nearly 50% of the vote. Mark Polston has 40%. No Democrat is running for that party's primary. Tonight's GOP winner will fill the seat left by retiring GOP Sen. Vernie McGaha.

Update at 7:55pm:

With 101 of the state's 120 counties completely reporting so far tonight, voter turnout is a shade below 10%. That's exactly what Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes predicted.

Update at 7:50pm:

It seems safe to say Rep. Jimmie Lee of Hardin County will be returning to Frankfort for another term. He faced two challengers in the Democratic primary tonight, but Lee so far has nearly 78% of the vote.

The Elizabethtown Democrat is 75 and has been in the Kentucky House since 1993. He's a member of the House Budget Committee. One of his challengers tonight was Kendrick Bryan, a 24 year old teacher and volleyball coach at Larue County High School. He has nearly 19% of the vote.

Update at 7:45pm:

Here's some updated numbers on two Republican primaries we're keeping a close eye on tonight. Incumbent Sen. David Givens is on his way to victory over challenger Don Butler II. Givens is a Green County native who has been in the Senate since 2009. He leads Butler 75%-25%, with four of the six counties in.

The 9th Senate district Givens serves includes Allen, Barren, Edmonson, Green, and Metcalfe counties.

Meanwhile, things are looking good for Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie, who has 47% of the vote in the 4th US House GOP primary. With 16 of 20 counties reporting, Massie has a big lead over Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington, who has 24%. Five other candidates are splitting the remaining vote.

Update at 7:41pm:

In the Democratic Presidential primary in Kentucky, Barack Obama has 59% of the vote. With 86 of 120 counties in, 40% of Kentucky Democrats so far have voted "uncommitted" in the race.

On the GOP primary side, Mitt Romney has nearly 67% of the vote.

Update at 7:37pm:

Here's where things stand in the Democratic primary, 1st US House district:

With 13 of 35 counties reporting, Charles Hatchett leads James Buckmaster 59% to 41%.

The 1st US House seat covers far western Kentucky, but also several south-central counties including Adair, Allen, Butler, Clinton, Cumberland, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and Todd.

The winner of tonight's Democratic primary will face incumbent GOP Rep. Ed Whitfield of Hopkinsville.

Update at 7:32pm:

With three of six counties reporting, incumbent Sen. David Givens has a big lead in the GOP 9th Senate District primary. He leads Edmonton challenger Don Buter II 72%-28%.

Givens is a farmer from Greensburg who has been in the Senate since 2009. Butler runs a Metcalfe County funeral home.

Update at 7:27pm:

Every year there's at least one major county in our listening area that's extremely slow in reporting election numbers to the Secretary of State's office. This year it's Warren County. Nearly 90 minutes after polls closed there, the Secretary of State's office has no numbers from Warren.

Update at 7:23pm:

Here's the latest in the Republican primary for the 15th state Senate seat, being vacated by the retiring Vernie McGaha:

Chris Girdler: 59%

Mark Polston: 30%

A.C Donahue: 9%

McGaha endorsed Polston, who runs a family furniture store and has advocated for home schooling. But Polston trails Girdler, with two of the four counties reporting. The 15th Senate district includes Adair, Casey, Pulaski, and Russell counties.

Update at 7:18pm:

With 9 of 20 northern Kentucky counties reporting, Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie has a big lead in the GOP primary for Kentucky's 4th US House seat. He has nearly 47% of the vote, with Gary Moore and Alecia Webb-Edgington both at 21%. The winner runs in the fall to try to win the seat held by retiring Republican Rep. Geoff Davis.

In the Democratic primary, Bill Adkins leads Greg Frank 69% to 31%.

Update at 7:15pm:

With 41 of 120 Kentucky counties reporting, Mitt Romney is taking 68% of the Republican Presidential primary. Ron Paul, father of Kentucky US Senator Rand Paul, has nearly 13%.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama leads "uncommitted" 65%-35%.

Update at 7:11pm:

Jimmie Lee is cruising in his bid to win his Democratic primary in the 25th Kentucky House seat, which covers part of Hardin County:

Jimmie Lee: 78%

Kendrick Bryan: 18%

Glenn Fonda: 3%

Update at 7:07pm:

Barren-Metcalfe County Commwealth's Attorney has called a Glasgow radio station, WCLU, to concede defeat to John Gardiner.

Update at 7:00pm:

Another Republican State Rep. facing a primary challenge tonight is Sara Beth Gregory, whose 52nd District seat covers part of Pulaski, and all of McCreary and Wayne counties.

With two of those three counties reporting:

Sara Beth Gregory: 70%

David Gover: 30%

Update at 6:58pm:

Even though Barack Obama is running unopposed for his party's primary, political observers have been wondering how many votes he'd get in southern and midwestern states. With 41 of Kentucky's 120 counties reporting so far tonight, President Obama has 65% of the vote, with "uncommitted" receiving 35%.

Update at 6:55pm:

It's too early to call, but local returns from the Barren-Metcalfe County Commonwealth's Attorney race show challenger John Gardner with a sizeable lead over the incumbant, Karen Davis.

Update at 6:51pm:

Here's some numbers from another key Kentucky state Senate primary. In the 15th Senate district, six Republicans are running to replace the retiring Republican Sen. Vernie McGaha, who has served in Frankfort since 1997. This is a Senate seat that covers Adair, Casey, Pulaski, and Russell counties.

With 1 of 4 counties reporting:

Mark Polston 48%

Chris Girdler: 37%

Todd Hoskins: 6%

Update at 6:39pm:

Who will Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield take on in the fall general election? Whitfield is the 1st District Rep. from Hopkinsville who has coasted to victory in recent elections.

In the Democratic primary, with 1 of 35 counties reporting:

Charles Hatchett 61%

James Buckmaster 39%

Meanwhile, in the US Rep, 4th Congressional District, Republican:

Thomas Massie: 49%

Alecia Webb-Edgington: 31%

Gary Moore: 13%

And in the Democratic primary for the US Rep, 4th District seat:

Bill Adkins 72%

Greg Frank: 28%

Update at 6:37pm:

A Kentucky state Senate primary we're keeping on eye on is in the 9th district, which includes Allen, Barren, Edmonson, Green, and Metcalfe.

Incumbant Sen. David Givens of Greensburg faces a GOP primary challenge from Don Butler II of Edmonton. No returns in yet, but we'll bring them to you ASAP.

Update at 6:33pm:

In the Democratic Presidential primary, Barack Obama now leads "uncommitted" 56% to 44%. That's with 20 of 120 counties reporting.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney has 66% of the vote, with Ron Paul in second with 13%.

Update at 6:29pm:

And just like that, we get some results from the 4th US House District GOP primary:

With 4 of 20 counties reporting:

Thomas Massie: 49%

Alecia Webb-Edgington: 31%

Gary Moore: 13%

Four other candidates are trailing badly.

The 4th US House district includes the northern Kentucky counties across the Ohio River, as well as some northeastern counties like Greenup.

Update at 6:22pm:

The Kentucky race receiving the most national attention is the 4th US House Republican primary. Republican Rep. Geoff Davis is retiring after four terms in Washington, and six Republicans are vying to fill his heat. Some of the front-runners are state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, and Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie.

Greg Frank and Bill Adkins are squaring off in the Democratic primary.

No results in yet from the race, but we'll post them as soon as they come in to us.

Update at 6:11pm:

The 25th House District race features long-time incumbant Jimmie Lee, who has represented a portion of Hardin County in the Kentucky House since 1993. He's got a big early lead over his two challengers, 24 year old Larue County High School teacher Kendrick Bryan, and Fort Knox IT professional Glenn Fonda.

Lee is 75, and is member of the powerful House Budget Committee. At last check, he had 79% of the vote recorded so far.

Updated 6:03pm:

With a few hundred votes counted in the Hardin County area, here's where things stand so far in the State Rep. 25th District Democratic Primary:

Jimmie Lee: 79%

Kendrick Bryan: 14%

Glenn Fonda: 6%

Original Post at 5:56pm central time:

Polls in Kentucky's eastern time zone have been closed nearly an hour, and results are starting to trickle in. Throughout the evening we'll be updating you on where things stand regarding several US House primaries, as well as key Kentucky state House and Senate primaries.

Here's how things look early on in the Presidential primaries:

With two counties in:

Republican Presidential Primary:

Mitt Romney 65%

Ron Paul: 15%

Rick Santorum 8%

Newt Gingrich 5%

"Uncommitted": 4%


Democratic Presidential Primary:

Barack Obama 64%

"Uncommitted" 36%


Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.