2018 Filing Update: GOP House member announces run for state Senate

11/30/2017 09:23 AM

First-term House Republican Rep. Robby Mills, of Henderson, has decided to challenge longtime incumbent Senate Democrat Sen. Dorsey Ridley in the 2018 election cycle.

Mills who won election to the state House in the GOP wave of 2016 announced he would be seeking the seat on social media Wednesday morning.

“After much consideration and prayer, today I am announcing my intentions to seek the 4th district State Senate seat,” Mills wrote. “Our region needs a strong voice in the Majority party in the Senate. Someone who will be a part of the solution, not the problem! I humbly ask for your support.”

Ridley, D-Henderson, has already filed for re-election with the Secretary of State’s Office on Nov. 17. He has held the seat since 2004. Before serving in the Senate Ridley previously served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1987 – 1994.

Here are others that are beginning to file paperwork to appear on the ballot in the May 2018 primary. The last day to file paperwork to appear as a candidate with the Democratic or Republican Party in the primary is January 30 at 4pm.

U.S. House of Representatives:

1st Dist. Democrat Sam Gaskins of Hopkinsville is again seeking the opportunity to challenge U.S. Rep. Jamie Comer in the 2018 General Election. Gaskins was defeated by Comer by more than 130,000 votes in the 2016 election.

2nd Dist. There will be a Democratic primary for the chance to take on U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie in the November election. Just weeks into the filings being open and Democrats Brian Pedigo, of Glasgow, and Grant Short, of Owensboro, have filed for the primary election.

4th Dist. Democratic candidate Christina Lord, of Milton, has filed for the primary in the northern Kentucky district currently held by U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg.

6th Dist. Currently Geoff Young, who has run for the seat numerous times before is currently the only Democrat to file for the seat. Amy McGrath and state Sen. Reggie Thomas have also announced their candidacy for the seat, and have made public appearances. Some speculate an announcement from Lexington Mayor Jim Gray could be imminent as well.

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, has held the seat since defeating former U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler in 2012.

State House

4th Dist. Abigail Barnes, an attorney who lists a Salem mailing address, is vying for the Democratic nomination in this Republican held seat in Western Kentucky. Barnes is an attorney and works at the Department of Public Advocacy in the Paducah trial office.

Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, has held the seat since 2013.

5th Dist. Rep. Kenny Imes, who has held the seat for three terms, will not seek re-election. Instead the Republican is vying for the position of Calloway County judge executive.

In a switcheroo the Calloway Co. Judge Executive Larry Elkins is seeking to replace Imes in the General Assembly. Democratic candidate David Ramey has also filed for the seat.

7th Dist. Democratic candidate Joy Gray, an educator at Daviess County Public Schools and a 2015 graduate of Democratic training group Emerge Kentucky, will again try and unseat Rep. Suzanne Miles, R-Owensboro, in this rural district.

9th Dist. Democratic candidate Willie Coleman, of Hopkinsville, has made his campaign official. The Army veteran is hoping to be the first Democrat to challenge Rep. Myron Dossett, R-Pembroke, in a decade.

15th Dist. Former longtime Democratic House member Brent Yonts, of Greenville, who was defeated in the 2016 election cycle after serving in the House of Representatives since 1997, has filed to challenge his successor.

25th Dist. Retired teacher Tom Williamson, of Elizabethtown, is the first Democrat to file for the May 22nd primary for the partial Hardin County district. The seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Jim DuPlessis, of Elizabethtown.

Williamson explained his unlikely political run to the News-Enterprise

30th Dist. Eighty-six year-old Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, has held his seat in the General Assembly continuously since 1978. However, he will take on a Democratic challenger in the May 22 primary as Warren Greer of Louisville file for the position on the same day that Burch filed for re-election in early November.

32nd Dist. Emerge Kentucky graduate and Jefferson County Special Education Teacher Tina Bojanowski, a Democrat from Louisville, has filed for the primary. The district is currently held by Republican Rep. Phil Moffett.

33rd Dist. Democratic candidate Rob Walker of Louisville lost to current GOP Rep. Jason Nemes in the 2016 General Election, but if the two clear their respective primaries they’ll meet again. Walker finished with 44 percent of the vote in 2016, the district has been in GOP hands for decades.

35th Dist. Longtime incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Wayne, of Louisville, announced his retirement from the General Assembly before candidate filing got underway, creating an open seat.

The move from Wayne has already sparked a Democratic primary race with Richard Becker, a union organizer, and Lisa Willner, a JCPS school board member, fighting for the nomination.

36th Dist. Democrat Jeff Grammer filed his paperwork last week to enter the primary. Grammer, who worked as an Information Technology and Computer Systems engineer, is vying to unseat Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Louisville, who has served two terms in office.

45th Dist. Josh Hicks, a former Marine Corps Sergeant and police officer, who is now working as an attorney in Lexington, had filed for the Democratic primary. The Lexington based district is held by Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington.

52nd Dist. Yovany Pino, a musician and behavioral therapist from Monticello, is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the seat. Republican Rep. Ken Upchurch, has held the seat from 1999 to 2010, and again from 2013 to the present.

56th Dist. Joe Graviss, a McDonald’s franchisee from Versailles, is filing for the Democratic primary in the seat currently held by Democratic Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles. Kay has been asked by Pure Politics and other news outlets this year if he will seek re-election, current Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle will retire at the end of next year.

60th Dist. Jesse Parks, a Democrat from Walton, will vie for the Democratic nomination to take on Rep. Sal Santoro, R-Florence, in the Republican district.

71st Dist. Democrat Mary Jane Renfro, of Berea, has filed with the Secretary of State’s office in the hopes of challenging House Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster.

Renfro is a realtor and a former Madison County School Board member.

74th Dist. Another Republican who will be facing a Democratic challenger this year is Rep. David Hale, of Wellington. Democratic candidate Brian Derickson, of Stanton filed for the primary on Nov. 15.

Derickson owns a graphics and janitorial supply company.

78th Dist. Gregory E. J. Coulson, of Cynthiana, has filed to try and win back the Harrison, Pendleton and partial Scott County district for the Democratic Party. Rep. Mark Hart, R-Falmouth, won the district in the 2016 election cycle.

79th Dist. Republican Joshua Irvin, of Lexington, has filed for the GOP primary in the Lexington based district. The Nursing Care Technician at the University of Kentucky Hospital hopes to unseat Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, who has been in office since 1999.

81st Dist. Another Emerge Kentucky graduate Morgan Eaves, of Richmond, who’s an associate attorney at Eaves, Olds, Bohannon & Floyd, PLLC, specializing in complex commercial litigation, has filed for the opportunity to take back the district for Democrats.

Rep. Wesley Morgan, R-Richmond, has managed to generate negative news headlines since joining the legislature in 2016. Morgan won the seat with 50.2 percent of the vote for former Democratic Rep. Rita Smart’s 49.8 percent of the vote.

86th Dist. Republican Don Rose, of Barbourville, is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Stewart, of Flat Lick. Stewart has been in office since 1997.

87th Dist. With Rep. Rick Nelson, D-Middlesboro, pursuing a run for Middlesboro mayor, an open district contest will be sure to include plenty of candidates. Currently Adam Bowling, a Republican from Middlesboro is the first person into the GOP primary, submitting his paperwork and filing fee on Nov. 13.

88th Dist. Chairman of Lexington Fairness Josh Mers, a Democrat, has filed for his party’s primary in the partial Lexington district held by Rep. Robert Benvenutti, R-Lexington.

89th Dist. A GOP primary is shaping up in this eastern Kentucky district which encompasses Jackson, part of Laurel and part of Madison County. Robert Goforth, a Republican from East Bernstadt, has filed a challenge to Rep. Marie Rader, R-McKee.

Goforth opened up his campaign account on Thursday with $100,000 of his own money.

90th Dist. Another GOP primary is taking shape in this district encompassing Clay, part of Laurel and all of Leslie County. Rep. Tim Couch, R-Hyden, will have to fend off his right-flank from Derek Lewis, a Republican from London, in the May 22 primary.

92nd Dist. Democratic candidate Ryan D. Mosley, of Emmalena, has filed for his party’s nomination in an effort to unseat first term GOP Rep. John Blanton, of Salyersville. The district was targeted by the GOP in 2016 and encompasses Knott, Magoffin, and part of Pike County.

95th Dist. Democratic candidate Ashley Tackett Laferty will try and win back this eastern Kentucky district once held by Rep. Greg Stumbo. Laferty will first have to clear the Democratic primary, in an effort to take on Rep. Larry Brown, R-Prestonsburg.

97th Dist. Russell Halsey, a Republican from Pine Ridge, has filed paperwork to primary first term Rep. Scott Wells, R-West Liberty.

State Senator

22nd Dist. Nicholasville Democrat Carolyn Dupont will compete in the Democratic primary in an effort to challenge Republican Sen. Tom Buford, who has held the seat since 1991.

32nd Dist. Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, will have to compete in a GOP primary against Darrell Traughber, of Bowling Green. Whoever emerges from the Republican primary could face Jeanie Smith, the lone Democratic candidate to file for the Senate seat so far.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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