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2018 Elections For Kentucky General Assembly Take Shape


Nearly 300 candidates filed to run for a spot in the state legislature this year as all 100 seats in the state House of Representatives and half of the 38 seats in the state Senate are up for election.

Republicans currently have a 62-36 majority in the Kentucky House after gaining control of the chamber for the first time in nearly a century in 2016. Two seats are vacant and will be filled by a special election in February.

But Democrats have fielded 155 candidates — many of them teachers — as they try to claw back some power in Frankfort on Nov. 8. Republicans have 144 candidates between the two chambers.

The GOP has a 27-11 majority in the Kentucky Senate.

State House

All 100 seats in the state House of Representatives will be up for election, but 13 current members won’t have challengers in the primary or general election — including 7 Democrats and 6 Republicans.

That list includes former Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover, who resigned from his leadership position earlier this year amid sexual harassment allegations.

There are 19 incumbent lawmakers who have announced they won’t run again — 11 out of 36 Democrats and eight out of 62 Republicans.

Reps. Jim DeCesare and Brian Linder — two other Republicans implicated in the harassment scandal — are among the 19 incumbent lawmakers not seeking re-election to their seats.

Rep. Michael Meredith, a fourth GOP lawmaker involved in the scandal, has drawn a Republican primary opponent and three Democratic candidates are also running for the seat.

Republicans took control of the House for the first time in nearly a century in 2016, adding 17 freshman lawmakers.

There are four former Democratic lawmakers running after being ousted in the 2016 elections — former Reps. Brent Yonts of Greenville, Jeff Taylor of Hopkinsville, Cluster Howard of Jackson and Jim Glenn of Owensboro.

Meanwhile there are 11 Republicans who drew primary opponents this year and three Democrats — all from Louisville.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes issued a statement saying that nearly 100 women had filed for election to the General Assembly, a record number.

“I am so encouraged by the thousands of Kentuckians of all backgrounds who are stepping up and offering themselves for public service in 2018,” Grimes said in a statement. “Our democracy is strengthened when more people are involved in the process – not just voting, but serving.”

Special elections will be held next month to fill two vacancies in the chamber, but those seats will be up for election in November as well.

State Senate

Only half of state Senate districts are up for election this year.

Four incumbent senators will have primary challengers — Democratic Sen. Robin Webb of Grayson, Republican Sen. Ernie Harris of Louisville, Republican Sen. Julie Raque Adams of Louisville, Republican Sen. Dan Seum of Louisville and Republican Sen. Mike Wilson of Bowling Green.

The only Senators who will be running unopposed are Republican Sen. Max Wise of Campbellsville and Democratic Sen. Dennis Parrett of Elizabethtown.

Two current members of the state House are running for the Senate — Henderson Republican Rep. Robby Mills will be trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Dorsey Ridley and Owensboro Republican Sen. Matt Castlen will be vying for outgoing Sen. Joe Bowen’s seat.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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