Challenger looks for different result in 78th District House rematch

10/18/2016 10:11 AM

Mark Hart, who lost in the 2014 78th district state representative race is looking to knock off 20-year Democrat incumbent Rep. Tom McKee once again.

McKee, D-Cynthiana, defeated Hart a Lexington EMT and the former Falmouth mayor by 969 votes two years ago.

Now, Hart is back to challenge McKee with a call for new blood, as well as a new party to control the Kentucky House of Representatives.

“The House of Representatives in Kentucky has been controlled by the Democrats since 1921,” Hart said. “That’s too long for any party, whether it’s Democrats or Republicans, to hold majority control for one part of our government. We can’t fix these problems if we keep sending the same person to Frankfort.”

McKee, who first served in the House since 1997, says that his experience works as an asset for the district.

“It’s taken me a long time to be the chairman of the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee,” McKee said. “To get that chairmanship is very important.”

Hart admits that he’s gotten more GOP support this time than he did two years ago, as Republicans possibly see an opportunity to capture a seat which they have not had.

“You know, they kind of put their candidates in tiers,” Hart said. “Most of the people like me who are challenging an incumbent, especially an entrenched incumbent like I am, a 20-year incumbent, we’re usually on the second tier, and that’s kind of where I think I’m at, but I’m getting support and they are helping me and they wouldn’t be doing that if they thought I didn’t have a shot.”

McKee had by-pass heart surgery in February and even worked on legislative business while he was recovering in the hospital. The Cynthiana Democrat says he has made a full recovery.

“Representative Wilson Stone came to see me while I was in the hospital, and he chaired the Ag committee in my absence and we worked on the agendas while I was in the hospital,” McKee said. “We didn’t miss much. But we’re back and, in fact, we have a clean bill of health.”

McKee has been in public service for 38 years since he was elected as magistrate in Harrison County in 1978.

Hart was first elected to political office in 2002 when he successfully ran for and was elected to Falmouth City Council.


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