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Rebecca Johnson Quits Kentucky House Race To Replace Late Husband

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The widow of a state lawmaker who killed himself late last year will not run in this year’s primary or general elections to fill her husband’s vacant seat.

Rebecca Johnson announced her candidacy the day after the death of her husband Rep. Dan Johnson, a pastor from Bullitt County, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in December.

Days before, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting began publishing a five-part series of Johnson detailing years of deceptive behavior, alleged arson and the alleged sexual assault of a minor.

Rebecca Johnson, a Republican, lost a special election in February to replace her late husband. The contest was won by Democratic Rep. Linda Belcher, a former elementary school principal who was ousted by Dan Johnson in 2016.

According to a KyCIR report published last month, Rebecca Johnson has struggled with financial and legal issues, including bankruptcy, bounced checks, unpaid bills and income tax troubles — some of which were tied to the Heart of Fire Church, which the Johnsons managed.

The church was also the site of illegal alcohol sales.

Rebecca Johnson, her campaign spokesman David Adams and the Bullitt County Republican Party did not immediately return requests for comment on Monday.

According to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ office, Johnson’s withdrawal was filed Monday morning. Her name will still be listed on the Republican primary election ballot in May but any votes cast for her will not be counted.

Republican Thomas Huff of Shepherdsville will now run unopposed in the Republican primary. He will face Belcher in the November General Election.

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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