Wade Hurt was lone incumbent to fall in primaries; tea party candidates fall short

05/22/2012 07:01 PM

Just one incumbent lost a bid for his party’s nomination Tuesday night, and he had only been in that party for a year.

In a rematch of the 2010 General Election, Jeffery Donohue won the 37th House District’s Democratic Party unseating Rep. Wade Hurt in the Louisville district. Hurt won the seat two years ago after Donohue was ruled ineligible for having someone not in his district sign his candidacy papers.

This time, Donohue won the race, 63 percent to 37 percent for Wade.

Elsewhere in Louisville, two incumbents easily defeated two tea party challengers. In the 48th House District, Rep. Bob DeWeese — the House GOP caucus chairman — garnered two thirds of the vote in the GOP primary over Scott Reed. After cruising through his first primary in 20 years, DeWeese now faces former Democratic state Senator Susan Johns in the fall.

And Democratic Rep. Reginald Meeks received about 80 percent of the vote in his easy win over Wendy Caswell, the founder of the Louisville Tea Party.

In Northern Kentucky, tea party candidate Cathy Flaig also fell short in her bid to oust four-term Rep. Addia Wuchner. Wuchner won by more than 400 votes — sending Flaig, a former Boone County Commissioner to her second election loss in as many elections. Flaig came up 74 votes shy of Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore in 2010.

And Diane St. Onge will be the next state representative from the 63rd District in Kenton County, replacing Alecia Webb-Edgington, who lost her bid for Congress. St. Onge easily dispatched with Walter Starosciak after amassing more than three-quarters of the vote.

In Western Kentucky, three Democratic incumbents cruised to their party’s nomination — Reps. Jim Glenn of Owensboro, Jim Gooch of Providence and John Arnold of Sturgis all won. Arnold received 57 percent over challenger Jim Murphy despite Arnold missing part of the campaign after having heart surgery.

In the 19th state House district covering Edmonson, Hart and Larue counties, former Democratic Rep. Dottie Sims soundly defeated union leader and Democratic committee member Phinis Hundley. Sims will face freshman Republican Rep. Michael Meredith in the general election as she tries to return to Frankfort for a third stint in the state House.

Democrat Kelly Whitaker won the nomination to replace Rep. Fred Nesler over Mayfield Mayor Arthur Byrn in the 2nd House District that includes Graves and part of McCracken County. Whitaker now faces Republican Richard Heath in the general elation after Heath easily defeated Patrick Fischer in that GOP primary.

And Chris Hightower, a former campaign staffer for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, won the 16th District Republican primary for the chance to take on Democratic Rep. Martha Jane King in the 16th District that covers Logan and Todd counties.

Key endorsements didn’t always matter in some of the primaries.

Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, backed Garrard County economic development director Nathan Mick in the GOP primary for the 36th District. But Jonathan Shell, a 24-year-old farmer, defeated Mick, 58 percent to 42 percent. Shell now faces Democrat Bradley Bud Montgomery of Berea in the general election for the open seat.

In Lexington, Republican Richard Marrs won a rematch with Democratic Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo in the 76th District. Palumbo defeated Marrs 59 percent to 41 percent in 2010. Marrs turned away lawyer Lavinia Spirito, 63 percent to 37 percent, even though Spirito out-raised Marrs.

(7:35 p.m.)— With 33% of the precincts reporting, incumbent Bob DeWeese is leading the Republican 48th district primary with 64% over competitor Scott Reed’s 36%.

  • 100% of precincts reported for the 66th district GOP primary, Addia Wuchner received 53% of the vote and opponent Cathy Flaig getting 42%.

(6 p.m.) — Polls have closed in the east. Key races to watch include:

  • the Republican 66th House District primary — Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence vs. Cathy Flaig, the former Boone County commissioner

  • the 37th House Democrats — Rep. Wade Hurt vs. Jeff Donohue, who was disqualified in the 2010 general election for in ineligible signature on his candidacy papers. That allowed Hurt, then a Republican, to win.
  • two Louisville races involving tea party candidates — Republican House Caucus Chairman Bob DeWeese vs. Scott Reed in the 48th district GOP primary and Rep. Reginald Meeks vs. Wendy Caswell, the former Louisville tea party president in the 42nd House Democratic primary.

Other key races to watch won’t be done for another hour. For instance, Democratic Rep. John Arnold of Sturgis is in a tough re-election fight against Democrat Jim Murphy in the 7th District that covers Union County and parts of Henderson and Daviess counties.


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