State Senate races: Republicans add two seats to their lead and may net another as Democrat wins judge-executive race

11/04/2014 06:19 PM

11:00 p.m. FINAL TALLY — Republicans Ralph Alvarado, Danny Carroll, C.B. Embry, Wil Schroder and Julie Raque Adams have joined the state Senate, giving the Republicans two additional seats and expanding their lead to 26-12 over Democrats.

Another could be on the was as Sen. Walter “Doc” Blevins won his race for Rowan County judge-executive.

Alvarado, of Winchester, represents to lone surprise of the election cycle, although many attribute Senate Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer’s decision to air a controversial ad painting his opponent as a prescription pill peddler to the Democrat’s loss.

Embry’s victory also represents a pickup for the GOP, as retiring Democratic Sen. Jerry Rhoads vacated his seat after this year’s legislative session.

“We had closed that race to 6 points with an ad campaign that Ralph Alvarado did for the month of September into early October,” Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said. “And when Sen. Palmer went on the air for the first time with that negative attack ad … he and his consultant Dale Emmons, I believe, made a critical error.”

8:40 p.m. — State Senate roundup: Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, leads her Democratic challenger Kathy Warnecke Ryan by nearly 26 points.

Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, leads Republican Tony Downey by more than 20 points.

Republican Wil Schroder is leading Democrat Jason Michael Steffen in the open 24th Senatorial District in northern Kentucky.

Republican Julie Raque Adams of Louisville is up by nearly 35 points on Democrat Siddique Malik for the open 36th Senate District.

8:00 p.m. — Senate Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, has been beaten by his Republican opponent, Ralph Alvarado, by 1,666 votes.

Palmer came under scrutiny for using spliced courtroom footage to insinuate Alvarado peddled prescription painkillers, which apparently backfired on the Democrat.

6:50 p.m. WITH VIDEO — Republicans in the state Senate have steadily built their 24-14 lead in recent election cycles, and they’re looking to add to their majority on Tuesday.

With half the chamber up for reelection, that will come down to picking up an open seat once held by retiring Senate Minority Whip Jerry Rhoads, D-Madisonville, and potentially knocking off two Democrats on the ballot, particularly Senate Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer of Winchester.

Palmer finds himself in a particularly nasty race after airing an ad accusing his opponent, Republican Ralph Alvarado of Winchester, of peddling prescription painkillers by using spliced courtroom footage.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said he believed the ad “truly backfired” on Palmer, particularly “when you start talking about a doctor who has been the doctor of the year for three years in Clark County, to accuse him of profiteering or using his profession to basically peddle pills.”

Eyes will also be on Rowan County’s judge-executive race, as state Sen. Walter “Doc” Blevins, D-Morehead, seeks the county’s top position. If he wins, that will create another open seat decided via special election.

Stivers expects to come back with a 24-member majority, potentially more.

“We have a very good shot at picking up the Jerry Rhoads seat with C.B. Embry,” he said. “

Reporting by Ryan Alessi with video by Bradley McKee at the Republican Party of Kentucky’s Election Night event

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