Rep. Rick Nelson won't run for re-election, will seek position as Middlesboro mayor in 2018

09/26/2017 03:14 PM

Democratic Rep. Rick Nelson won’t be seeking a return trip to the House of Representatives in Frankfort next year; instead he is seeking a local office.

The state Representative who first won election to the House in 2,001 will seek the position of Mayor in Middlesboro, Nelson told Pure Politics on Tuesday.

With Nelson seeking local office, he puts House Democrats one step further away from making up ground lost in the 2016 election cycle, when the Republican Party took control of the state House picking up super majority control with 64 members.

Nelson’s 87th House District encompasses all of Bell and part of Harlan County in southeast Kentucky, a rather conservative district.

Republicans outnumber Democrats in registration in Bell County by nearly 2,000 voters, according to data from the Secretary of State’s office. There are more registered Democrats in Harlan County, but Nelson agrees attitudes there are conservative.

Nelson said the district went strongly in support of President Trump in the 2016 election.

The long-time Representative does not plan on endorsing a candidate in the primary, and right now no one has announced they’re seeking the position for Democrats. There are two Republicans; Nelson said seeking election to the seat.

“I think if the right person comes along you know anybody’s possible to win, so it’s possible,” he said of a Democrat carrying the seat after him. “I think it’s mostly on the candidate, and how well they communicate with the community.”

The Middlesboro Democrat said seeking the position of mayor in Middlesboro is something he has been looking into for several years.

“I just feel like (Middlesboro’s) maybe going downhill a little bit and we want to try to spruce it back up and try to get it back into good shape,” he said.


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