Ky. House primaries: Harris beats Rep. Hall; Moffett, Moore and Kearns win competitive GOP races

05/20/2014 09:29 PM

UPDATED 12:33 a.m. —- Chris Harris, a Pike County magistrate, unseated Rep. W. Keith Hall of Phelps 51 percent to 49 percent in a bruising Democratic primary in eastern Kentucky’s 93rd District.

Harris ran tough ads, including one down the stretch of the primary in which Harris talks directly to the camera and says Hall became corrupt while in the state House. Hall faced ethics investigations, including a fine in 2011 from the Legislative Ethics Commission for directing coal severance tax money to a project in which one of his companies had a no-bid contract.

In the district that covers eastern Pike County and all of Martin County, unofficial results showed Harris 209 votes ahead of Hall. Harris will be the representative-elect because no Republican filed in that district.

Hall was the only incumbent state representative to lose Tuesday night.

Moffett wins 32nd District GOP primary

In Louisville’s 32nd state House District, former candidate for governor Phil Moffett defeated former Jefferson County GOP chairman Shellie May, 53 percent to 47 percent,in the open seat to replace Rep. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, who is running for the state Senate.

Moffett, who lost the 2011 GOP primary for governor to David Williams, now faces Democrat Ashley Miller in the November election.

Tim Moore returns to House in 18th District

Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, held on in the 18th House District, which was redrawn to include all of Grayson County and part of Hardin County. He is facing Grayson County native Stephen Meredith, a hospital executive, in the GOP primary. Moore handily won the Hardin County precincts with 85 percent and held on as the Grayson County precincts came in to win 53 percent to 47 percent.

No Democrat filed in that district.

‘Establishment’ candidates upset in Lexington

In Lexington, a pair of candidates who didn’t get “establishment” backing prevailed in their respective primaries.

  • Democrat George Brown Jr., a former Lexington urban councilman, jumped out to a big lead over Michael Haskins, who was the choice of retiring Rep. Jesse Crenshaw in the heavily Democratic 77th District. Brown won 62 percent to 38 percent.
  • Ken Kearns, a Republican with tea party support, defeated Lexington councilman George Myers for the GOP nomination in the 79th House District. Kearns, a one-time aide for then-Congressman Larry Hopkins, will face Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington in the fall election. Westrom usually is on the most targeted list for Republicans.

Kearns won 56 percent to 44 percent.

Belcher’s win in 49th sets up battle of ex-Reps.

Former Democratic Rep. Linda Belcher easily won the Democratic primary in a newly-created district in northern Bullitt County, winning her primary with 83 percent of the vote.

She will now face in November former Republican Rep. Mike Nemes, who held a House seat in Jefferson County for a term from 2011-2012.

Former Rep. Kent Stevens gets nod in 53rd District

Former one-term Democratic Rep. Kent Stevens of Lawrenceburg turned away two fellow Anderson County Democrats, Stewart Gritton and Donna Drury.

Stevens won with 56 percent of the vote compared to Gritton’s 24 percent and Drury’s 22 percent in the newly-created open district in Anderson, Spencer and part of Bullitt counties.

Stevens faces Republican James Tipton of Spencer County in November.

Claypool wins GOP primary in open 10th District

After raising the most money in the GOP primary, Alan Claypool won the open 10th District Republican primary to succeed retiring Rep. Dwight Butler, R-Harned. Claypool defeated Jerry Lucas and Bryan Key with 65 percent of the vote.

Claypool of McDaniels has a general election match-up against Democrat Dean Schamore of Hardinsburg.

Incumbents cruise

Elsewhere, incumbents cruised to their party’s nominations.

  • Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, easily cruised to another term, besting challenger David Martin in the 66th House District in Boone County, 60 percent to 40 percent. She returns to Frankfort for a sixth term.
  • Rep. Ken Upchurch, R-Monticello, easily won another term in the 52nd state House District, turning back a challenge from Jessica Burke, a lawyer and former staffer to the state Senate Republicans. Upchurch is unopposed in November.
  • Rep. Marie Rader, R-McKee, survived yet another primary challenge as she has for the last decade. She won the GOP primary in the 89th District with 65 percent of the vote against two other Republicans. She faces Democrat Joey Jason Taylor II in the November election in the district that covers Jackson County and parts of Laurel and Madison counties.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.