State legislature: Republicans pick up 2 Senate seats, 7 House seats

11/02/2010 06:07 PM

(Updated) 10:48 p.m. — The state House Republicans have picked up seven seats with a win in the open 10th District seat in Hopkins County.

Among the House Democrats losing Tuesday night were state Reps. Don Pasley of Winchester, Charlie Hoffman of Georgetown, Dottie Sims of Horse Cave, Tim Firkins of Louisville, and Kent Stevens of Lawrenceburg.

Republican Ben Waide also won the 10th District seat replacing Democratic Rep. Eddie Ballard of Madisonville, who retired.

Democrats also lost a seat in Louisville where Democratic Rep. Ron Weston of Louisville retired. The Democratic candidate, Jeff Donohue, was disqualified for not having the proper signatures on his filing paperwork.

“In a very anti-Democratic, anti-incumbent year, the bright side is we did maintain, at the worst case a margin of 58-42,” said Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville — the House Democratic caucus chairman. “But it’s always hard to see some of your colleagues lose, especially those you’ve served so long with.”

10:32 p.m. — In the state Senate, Republican state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington pulled out a victory over Democrat Don Blevins. Here’s here victory speech:

10:14 p.m.: Republican Joe Bowen has defeated Democratic state Sen. David Boswell in Owensboro by about 5 points — 1,600 votes — with absentee ballots all that’s left to count.

Boswell is the second Democratic state senator to fall, following state Sen. Mike Reynolds of Bowling Green. Democrats also appear to have lost the open seat in Madison, Rockcastle and Lincoln counties where GOP candidate Jared Carpenter appears to be the next senator.

Those three pick-ups more than offset the loss of Republican Sen. Elizabeth Tori of Elizbethtown, for a net gain of two Senate seats for the Republicans.

Also in Owensboro, Democratic state Rep. Jim Glenn is clinging to a 200-vote lead with the absentee ballots left to go over Republican Ben Boarman in the 13th District.

10:00 p.m.: A third veteran House Democratic lawmaker appears to have lost re-election. Unofficial results show Rep. Charlie Hoffman, D-Georgetown, losing to Republican Ryan Quarles by 221 votes.

As reported earlier, Democratic Reps. Don Pasley of Winchester and Kent Stevens of Lawrenceburg lost.

Democratic Rep. Tim Firkins of Louisville is losing and Rep. Linda Belcher of Shepherdsville is locked in a tight race as well.

In the state Senate, Independent Sen. Bob Leeper appears to be in control of his re-election race over Democrat Rex Smith. Democrats had hoped to win that race if they had any prayer of tying up control of the Senate.

Democratic Sen. Robin Webb of Grayson has opened up a lead over Republican challenger Jack Ditty.

Also, earlier Democratic Sen. Mike Reynolds lost his re-election bid, as did Republican Sen. Elizabeth Tori.

9:19 p.m. In the state House, Democrats have lost two seats so far tonight, including veteran state Rep. Don Pasley of Winchester. Donna Mayfield, who works in the Clark County sheriff’s office, appears to have narrowly defeated Pasley.

Also falling Tuesday night was freshman state Rep. Kent Stevens, a Democrat from Lawrenceburg. Republican Kim King from Mercer  County campaign ran an energetic campaign to unseat him.

Counting the open seat Democrats lost in Louisville by disqualification, that’s a net gain of three seats for the Republicans so far.

Also in jeopardy of losing is Democratic state Rep. Tim Firkins of Louisville.

8:51 p.m.: So far, Republicans are declaring victory in the 32nd District in Warren and Butler counties where GOP candidate Mike Wilson is leading Democratic freshman Sen. Mike Reynolds — the first Democratic incumbent to fall.

Republicans appear to be holding the 20th state Senate district in Shelby, Spencer and Bullitt counties where Republican state Sen. Gary Tapp retired. And GOP candidate Jared Carpenter is ahead in the 34th District being vacated by Democratic state Sen. Ed Worley.

Those two GOP pick-ups, when combined with a Democratic win over Republican state Sen. Elizabeth Tori in Elizabethtown gives Republicans a net gain of one seat.

GOP state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington is narrowly ahead and looks to be hanging on to her seat in the 12th District.

Democratic state Sen. Robin Webb of Grayson in the 18th District is slightly behind Republican Jack Ditty in that northeastern Kentucky district.

8:32 p.m.: State Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington cruises to re-election:

8:20 p.m.: Democrat Dennis Parrett appears to have narrowly defeated Republican state Sen. Elizabeth Tori of Elizabethtown with 51.8% votes to 48.2% with just a few precincts to go.

That would be one pick-up for the Democrats who need two seats to tie. It also would be the first loss by an incumbent state senator in a general election since 1996.

Meanwhile, in Lexington, state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, a Republican, is hanging on by two points about about 500 votes to Democratic candidate Don Blevins, the former Fayette County Clerk.

7:19 p.m. The lead reverses in the 10th District in Hardin County.  Democrat Dennis Parrett now has the lead, 53% to 47% over Republican Sen. Elizabeth Tori. Just a couple precincts are reporting.

-Will Mapes

6:23 p.m.: The first precincts in a state Senate race are starting to come in — and they’re from the 10th District in Hardin County and part of Louisville.

It shows Republican Sen. Elizabeth Tori out to an early lead, 58% to 42% over Democrat Dennis Parrett with just a couple precincts reporting.

- Ryan Alessi

4:32 p.m. The fate of a couple of incumbent state senators is in doubt to start the night. Republican Alice Forgy Kerr in Lexington and Democrat Mike Reynolds in Bowling Green are both facing very tough challenges.

Kerr, a three-term senator, is going up against Democrat Don Blevins, the former Fayette County Clerk. And Reynolds, who first won the seat in a special election in 2009, has been locked in a tight race with Republican Mike Wilson, who runs a Christian radio station. And that race is being run in Rand Paul’s backyard of Warren and Butler counties.

Republicans also are counting on winning an open seat in Central Kentucky — the 34th state Senate district being vacated by Democratic leader Ed Worley.

Republicans control the chamber with 21 votes — including Independent Senator Bob Leeper, who has his own tough re-election race in western Kentucky. Democrats have 17 seats.

And in the state House, we’ll be closely tracking several races up and down I-65, which seems to be the epicenter for compettive House districts.


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