Belcher wins 49th Dist. House special election

02/20/2018 07:54 PM

Democratic House candidate Linda Belcher, D-Shepherdsville, will return to Frankfort for the remainder of 2018 as the winner of Tuesday’s special election against Rebecca Johnson, the widow of the late incumbent.

Belcher replaces the late Dan Johnson, R-Mt. Washington, who killed himself with a .40 cal handgun on a bridge in Bullitt County in December, following reports that he molested a 17 year old girl.

With approximately 15 percent of registered voters turning out to vote, Belcher defeated Johnson with 3,386 votes to Johnson’s 1,561.

Johnson’s campaign claimed voter fraud as the reason they lost the special election.

“I’ve heard from and about people all day long saying they went to vote for me at the correct polling place and were refused the opportunity to vote,” Johnson said in a statement. “It’s like we’re in a third world country.”

Kentucky Democratic Party chair Ben Self congratulated Belcher on her victory in the Bullitt County district.

“This is a great indication of the wave of excitement felt by Democrats throughout the state of Kentucky,” Self said in a statement. “We just won this district by more than 30 percentage points, where Trump won 73 percent of the vote. This just shows that the entire House is up for grabs this fall. People are using their votes and voices to take a stand against the anti-Kentuckian policies of the Republican majority.”

“We are confident we will have continued success during the 2018 midterm elections. We have a record-breaking number of Democratic candidates, who along with energized voters, remain passionately focused on state and local issues concerning our children, working-class families and the future of our state.”

Republican Party of Kentucky Communications Director Tres Watson said the results should not be the expectation of things to come in this district later this year.

“Tonight’s special election has been anything but normal from the beginning and offers little resemblance to what we should expect in November. Turnout was low, even by special election standards, and the impact of recent events hung over the race, clouding the outcome,” Republican Party of Kentucky Communications Director Tres Watson said in a statement. “Regardless of the final vote, Linda Belcher’s positions on the right to life, government spending, the 2nd Amendment and a whole host of other issues are totally out of step with the values of the voters of the 49th district and we will work to make sure the people of Bullitt County are kept up to date on her actions in Frankfort so she can be held accountable for her votes.”

During the truncated special election, Johnson dug in on her husband’s reputation and focused on the media and pointed blame for her husband’s death — but she’s never focused on Belcher’s record in the legislature or other attributes. Meanwhile, Belcher focused her messaging around her attributes in office, and her time as a teacher as well as protecting teacher’s pensions.

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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