Four things to keep an eye on during Tuesday's primary election results

05/22/2012 10:02 AM

No statewide races. No competitive presidential primaries. But that doesn’t mean there’s not anything to pay attention to with tonight’s primary election results.

1. The 4th Congressional District — The Republican race is the fourth primary race since 1980 for an open Kentucky congressional seat that featured seven or more candidates.

The three previous ones — 1980 Republican primary for the 5th District, 1994 Democratic primary for the 3rd District and 1998 Democratic primary for the 6th District — were won by a candidate who received between 24 and 27 percent of the vote or less. (Hal Rogers in the 5th District with 24 percent out of 11 candidates, Mike Ward in the 3rd District with 27 percent out of 11 candidates and Ernesto Scorsone with 24 percent out of seven candidates in the 6th District.)

Today, that could mean with voter turnout of between 30,000 and 35,000 Republicans in the 4th District, a candidate can win the nomination with between 7,200 and 9,450 votes.

Thomas Massie, the Lewis County judge-executive, has received a big boost in advertising across the district thanks to a more than $542,000 in TV and $16,000 in radio advertising from the Liberty for All Super PAC.

Alecia Webb-Edgington, a state representative from Kenton County, hails from the most populous county in the district. And Kenton County has been a hot-bed of election activity this spring with Republican candidates for the open 23rd state Senate District and Webb-Edgington’s 63rd state House seat, meaning GOP voter turnout could be higher there than other parts of the district.

Gary Moore, the Boone County judge-executive, raised the most out of the candidates and has lined up support from county leaders in different parts of the district.

Walt Schumm, an Oldham County developer, has focused his strategy, message and ads on the western part of the district — Oldham, Shelby, northern Spencer and eastern Jefferson county.

And in a low-turnout race with seven candidates, tea party candidate Tom Wurtz, party activist and blogger Marcus Carey and Brian Oerther, who is from Oldham County but has campaigned heavily in Greenup, Boyd and Mason counties, could all have an effect in tipping the balance.

2. Winners take all — Several key primary races also will determine the next state legislator from that district because no candidate from the opposite party filed to run.

Most notably, the winner of the four-candidate Democratic primary in the 19th state Senate District is all but assured of being the next senator, replacing Tim Shaughnessy, who decided not to seek a seventh term. Morgan McGarvey, a lawyer, and Sarah Lynn Cunningham, a community activist and environmental engineer, have

Others include:

  • 9th Dist. Senate Republicans (Green, Barren, Simpson, Allen, Edmonson and Metcalfe counties) — Sen. David Givens of Greensburg vs. Don Butler, the former Metcalfe County judge-executive

  • 15th Dist. Senate Republicans (Adair, Casey, Russell and Pulaski counties) — Chris Girdler, who has been a district aide to Hal Rogers, Mark Polston, who runs a furniture store in Somerset, and A.C. Donahue are the main candidates.

3. Tea Party tests — After inconsistent election success over the last two elections, tea party candidates are trying to pull upsets in several state legislative races.

Democrat Wendy Caswell, the former president of the Louisville tea party, is taking on Rep. Reginald Meeks in the 42nd District that covers Old Louisville and the area around the University of Louisville. It’s a district Meeks has represented since 2001.

After coming within 75 votes of defeating Gary Moore for Boone County judge-executive, Republican Cathy Flaig is trying to knock off another incumbent: state Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence. Flaig, a former Boone County Commissioner, is the former president of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party. Wuchner, who has been in office since 2005, lost the Republican primary for auditor to a tea party candidate in 2011.

And in the 17th state Senate District, tea party activist Rick Hostetler is making his second bid for a state legislative nomination after losing a 2010 primary for state representative. He’s taking on Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown, who has significantly out-raised and out-spent Hostetler.

4. In the Margins — Other races seem to be heading toward anticlimactic conclusions. For instance, Republican Andy Barr is expected to win the GOP nomination for the 6th congressional district for a rematch with Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler. Barr is in a three-way primary, so he will be playing the expectations game when it comes to margin in Tuesday’s primary.

Other candidates in primary races could be looking for big margins as signs of strength heading into the general elections. For instance, keep an eye on the 37th state Senate Republican primary — featuring former metro councilman Doug Hawkins and businessman Chris Thieneman — in which the winner takes on Democratic Sen. Perry Clark and the 19th state House Democratic primary between former state Rep. Dottie Sims and union leader and Democratic activist Phinus Hundley for the nomination to take on freshman Republican Rep. Michael Meredith of Brownsville.


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