Legislative primary race roundup: Jefferson County incumbents lose while Senate Democratic leaders, Speaker Stumbo take wins

05/18/2016 12:01 AM

Tuesday was not a good day for incumbents in Jefferson County, with two longtime lawmakers meeting their last legislative days in the primary.

The election also revealed a close race for House Speaker Greg Stumbo and set up some interesting general election matchups.

33rd House District

Twenty-year incumbent Rep. Ron Crimm, R-Louisville, will not be returning to Frankfort next session after succumbing to Louisville lawyer Jason Nemes.

Nemes handed Crimm a 17 point defeat in the Republican primary in the district which covers parts of northeastern Jefferson County and southwestern Oldham County.

Louisville accountant Andrew Schachtner finished third with 430 votes, according to unofficial results with the State Board of Elections.

Nemes will face Democratic candidate Rob Walker in the district which favors the GOP.

41st House District

Former Metro Council member Attica Scott has defeated 34-year state Rep. Tom Riner in the Democratic primary.

Scott, an Emerge Kentucky graduate, finished with 54 percent of the vote to Riner’s 34 percent. Riner opted to not fundraise for the race and has been mired in controversy after recruiting the Liberty Counsel to assist with Rowan Co. Clerk Kim Davis’ legal defense when she opted to stop issuing marriage licenses.

Phil Baker finished in third with 14.73 percent of the vote.

No Republican has filed to challenge in the general election, making Scott the next state representative for the district.

15th Senate District

In one of the most civil contests of the primary outgoing Sen. Chris Girdler’s uncle, Rick Girdler, a long time insurance agent, edged fellow Republicans with 31.74 percent of the vote.

Don Moss, who is also an insurance agent, finished in second with 24.66 percent, followed by Michael Keck who brought in 22.9 percent. Rounding out the field was Joshua Nichols who finished with 20.7 percent.

No Democrats are competing in the general election making Girdler the next senator for the region.

91st House District

Former state Rep. Toby Herald, who narrowly lost his seat to Democratic Rep. Cluster Howard by 14 votes in 2014, will have a chance to retake his seat in the 91st House District after edging fellow Republican Randall Christopher by 72 votes on Tuesday.

Herald won by 2.6 percent of the vote, carrying Lee and Owsley counties while Christopher bested him in Breathitt, Estill and Madison counties.

Herald will face Howard, D-Jackson, in the Nov. 8 election.

31st Senate District

In what turned out to be one of the most contentious primaries this cycle, Senate Minority Floor Leader Ray Jones cruised to a 42-point victory over Democratic challenger Glenn Martin Hammond.

Jones and Hammond had accused one another of supporting anti-coal efforts in television ads before turning to more personal material, with Hammond questioning Jones’ relationship with a local utility manager while Jones countered that Hammond bounced checks intended to cover his law firm’s occupational taxes.

Jones has no Republican opposition this fall and carried all five counties in the district.

33rd Senate District

Another Senate Democratic leader fended off a primary challenge as Senate Minority Caucus Chair Gerald Neal won his contest by more than 16 percent of the vote.

Neal, D-Louisville, bested former Jefferson District Judge Toni Stringer and one-time aide Charles Booker in the three-way race, taking 48.4 percent of the vote.

He’ll face Shenita Rickman in the Nov. 8 election after she edged John Yuen in the Republican primary by 37 votes.

94th House District

The race to replace outgoing Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, will be between former Pikeville Mayor Frankie Justice and Assistant Letcher County Attorney Angie Hatton.

Both emerged victorious in the Republican and Democratic primaries, respectively.

Hatton won her contest against Joel Thornbury by more than 21 points, overwhelmingly winning Letcher County by 1,607 votes while Thornbury carried Pike County by 504.

Justice won a four-way primary with 39.3 percent of the vote, besting his closest competitor, Charles Wheeler, by 190 votes.

Justice carried Pike County while the third-place finisher, Colin Fultz, won Letcher County.

95th House District

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, held off Democratic challenger Jimmy Rose by more than 8 percent of the vote in his primary Tuesday.

Stumbo carried Floyd and Pike counties, and he’ll face Republican Larry Brown in the Nov. 8 election.

Pure Politics Managing Editor Nick Storm and political reporter Kevin Wheatley contributed to this report.


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