GOP's Sara Beth Gregory and Democrat Bill Conn picked for Dec. 18 election to replace David Williams

11/14/2012 09:05 PM

It’s a battle of youth in the Dec. 18 special election to replace David Williams in the Senate.

Both candidates, who were nominated by their parties Wednesday night, just barely meet the age qualifications to run, which is 30 years old at the time of the election.

Republican Sara Beth Gregory, the state representative from Monticello, turned 30 in September. Democratic nominee Bill Conn, a Williamsburg teacher, is cutting it even closer. He’ll celebrate his 30th birthday on Dec. 8 — just 10 days before the special election.

Gregory, who was re-elected to a second term in the House last week, defeated David Cross, a Clinton County lawyer, for the nomination, the Kentucky Republican Party confirmed to Pure Politics. The GOP committee in the 16th District, which covers Monroe, Cumberland, Clinton, McCreary, Wayne and Whitley counties, met Wednesday night to vote on the nomination.

The district overwhelmingly favors the GOP with 51,202 registered Republicans compared to 18,199 Democrats, which was what made Wednesday night’s Republican nomination so crucial.

Conn, a teacher for seven years, is a 2001 graduate of Williamsburg High School and earned his bachelors and master’s degrees from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg. He currently serves as a math intervention teacher for grades K-3, according to his bio page on the school’s site.

“I enter this race with a desire to rise above petty, partisan politics and earnestly serve all the people of the six counties I hope to represent in Frankfort,” Conn said in a statement. “A vote for Conn is a vote for a conservative, compassionate, common sense state senator who will put people before party.”

Gregory is an attorney, and if she wins, has a chance to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Its former chairman, Tom Jensen of London, decided to retire from the Senate to pursue a judgeship, just as Williams did.

The only other Republican lawyers in the Senate are newly-elected Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville, who doesn’t have any legislative experience and two members of the current Republican leadership team. Robert Stivers, the current GOP floor leader, is running for Senate President and Katie Stine, who is running unopposed for Senate President Pro Tem. Generally, legislators elected to leadership posts don’t serve as committee chairs.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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