Democrat Reginald Thomas wins special Senate election to replace Stein

12/10/2013 06:27 PM

The state Senate seat covering Lexington and the University of Kentucky will continue to be represented by a Democrat as Reginald Thomas, a lawyer and Kentucky State University professor, won a three-way special election Tuesday.

The unofficial votes from the Secretary of State’s office showed 11 percent turnout. Here are the results:

Reginald Thomas (D) — 4,040 …. 54%
Richard Moloney (I) — 2,617 …. 35%
Michael Johnson ® — 851 …. 11%

Thomas will replace Kathy Stein, who resigned this fall after Gov. Steve Beshear appointed her as a family court judge. Thomas follows in the tradition of Democrats like Stein, Ernesto Scorsone and Michael Moloney in the downtown Lexington district. He also becomes the first African-American state senator from Lexington.

Despite a late push by independent candidate Richard Moloney, which included the endorsement of the Lexington Herald-Leader, Thomas was buoyed by a strong get-out-the vote effort led by Fayette County Democratic Party activists.

Moloney, the nephew of the former state Senator, switched parties after it became clear he wouldn’t get the Democratic Party’s nomination for the district. But Thomas fended off Moloney’s criticisms of his trustworthiness related to questions about his departure as a professor at the University of Kentucky more than a decade ago. Thomas’s supporters fired back at Moloney over his party switching.

Thomas engendered loyalty from the party activists after his hard work in a loss in 2012 in a heavily Republican state House district in southern Lexington.

Michael Johnson, a Republican candidate making his first run for office, finished third in the heavily Democratic district.

You can see Nick Storm’s overview of the race here .


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