State Rep. Dewayne Bunch resigns due to injuries, governor will set special election date

10/26/2011 04:15 PM

Republican state Rep. Dewayne Bunch of Williamsburg resigned his seat Wednesday in the wake of injuries suffered while breaking up a fight at Whitley County High School last spring.

Bunch, a first-term legislator and teacher at the high school, suffered head injuries in the April incident and has been recovering since then.

In a statement released by the state House Republican Caucus, Bunch’s family made the decision for him to resign while he recovers from serious head injuries.

In that joint statement, Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, Caucus Chair Bob DeWeese and Minority Whip Danny Ford wished Bunch a continued speedy recovery.

“Dewayne has exemplified what it means to be a servant leader,” the leaders said. “Whether it was his service to our nation through the military, his service to the 82nd District as State Representative, or his service to the young people of Whitley County as an educator, Dewayne has time and again lived the type of life that can be an example to all of us. We wish him a speedy recovery.”

According to Kentucky law, a special election will need to be held to fill the remainder of Bunch’s term. Because the General Assembly in not currently in session, the date of the special election will be set by the governor, according to the Kentucky Board of Elections.

State law requires voting machines be sealed for 30 days after an election. So because of the Nov. 8 election for statewide offices, that would push back a special election until mid-to-late December.

Parties and independent candidates can file their statement of candidacy with the secretary of state’s office no later than 28 days before the special election date. The winner of the election will take office as soon as election results were certified.

In a statement, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg, said he respected Bunch’s decision and wished Bunch “the best.”

“Our thoughts and prayers from every member of the General Assembly remain with Dewayne and his family,” Stumbo said in a statement. “We respect his decision and wish him nothing but the best. Of all the people I have served with over the years, I don’t know of a finer man than Dewayne. The outpouring of generosity given by the House members on his behalf has been both gratifying and heartfelt.”

Bunch defeated longtime Republican state Rep. Charlie Siler of Corbin in the 2010 GOP primary. It was his third bid for the 82nd House seat. Bunch has taught science and math at Whitley County High School.

In a statement, Gov. Steve Beshear wished Bunch a quick recovery as well.

“Rep. Bunch was a fine addition to the state legislature in the time he served,” Beshear said. “We are saddened that his health required him to resign his office, but we wish him the best as he continues his recovery.”

Kerri Richardson, Beshear’s communications director, said there have been no decisions made in regards to a special election yet.

-Reporting by Kenny Colston


Subscribe to email updates.

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