All Fayette lawmakers will seek re-election in 2012

jbrammer@herald-leader.comFebruary 10, 2012 

FRANKFORT — All incumbent state lawmakers from Fayette County hope to return to office next year, but a few will have opponents in this year's elections.

The third filing deadline for state legislative candidates came and went at 4 p.m. Friday, but because of court battles it remains uncertain from what districts legislative candidates will run. And it's possible that the Kentucky Supreme Court could order another filing deadline.

What is known now is that 54 people have filed for the 19 state Senate districts up for grabs this year — those in odd-numbered districts — and 223 people have filed for the 100 House seats being contested this year.

It gets complicated after that, because some of those filings are for districts drawn this year by the state legislature and some are for districts that were drawn in 2002.

Earlier this week, Franklin Judge Phillip Shepherd declared Kentucky's newly drawn legislative districts unconstitutional and ordered election officials to use previous district lines in this year's elections.

The initial filing deadline for legislative candidates was Jan. 31. But Shepherd extended that to Feb. 7 with a temporary restraining order and then further extended it to Feb. 10 with a temporary injunction.

Legislative leaders now want the Kentucky Supreme Court to dissolve Shepherd's injunction and order election officials to use the new districts created under House Bill 1 for 2012 legislative contests.

Only one state senator from Fayette County is up for election this year. Democratic Sen. Kathy Stein has filed to run from the 13th Senate District under the 2002 boundaries.

But Democrats Richard Evans of Mount Sterling and John Sims Jr. of Flemingsburg, and Republican David Rhodes of Mount Sterling, have filed for the 13th Senate District under the 2012 boundaries, which moved the district to northeastern Kentucky.

The battle lines are clearer for state House elections that touch Fayette County.

In the 39th District, which covers Jessamine and part of Fayette, Democratic incumbent Bob Damron of Nicholasville will face Republican Matt Lockett of Nicholasville.

Republican incumbent Stan Lee of Lexington will be opposed in the 45th District by two Republicans — Chris Tyler of Lexington and David Thornton of Nicholasville, although the 2002 boundaries for that district do not include any part of Jessamine County.

Democratic incumbent Kelly Flood of Lexington drew no opposition in the 75th District, but Democratic incumbent Ruth Ann Palumbo of Lexington has two Republican opponents for the 76th District — Richard Marrs and Lavinia Theodoli Spirito, both of Lexington.

Democratic incumbent Jesse Crenshaw of Lexington is unopposed in the 77th District, but Democratic incumbent Susan Westrom of Lexington has two GOP opponents for the 79th District — Kenneth L. Kearns II and Chris Logan, both of Lexington.

Republican incumbent Bill Farmer of Lexington's 88th District drew two GOP opponents — Robert J. Venuti III and Jamie Clark, both of Lexington.

Longtime state Rep. Royce Adams, D-Dry Ridge, withdrew Friday from the 61st House District race, which has attracted four candidates. The district under the 2002 boundaries includes Gallatin, Grant and Owen counties.

The last candidate to file Friday was Democrat Susan Johns of Louisville. She is trying to unseat Republican Bob DeWeese in Jefferson County's 48th District. Johns is a former state legislator and unsuccessful candidate for state treasurer.

Nine candidates — seven Republicans and two Democrats — filed to run for the state Senate's 15th District in south-central Kentucky, although not all of the candidates live in the district's 2002 boundaries.

Republican incumbent Vernie McGaha of Russell Springs has decided not to seek re-election.

Republican candidates include Hilda Legg of Somerset; Chris Girdler of Somerset, who is deputy district director for U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset; A.C. Donahue of Somerset; Mark F. Polston of Somerset; Todd Hoskins of Liberty; Joe Laswell of Shepherdsville; and Dennis Mitchell of West Point. The two Democratic candidates are Eddie O'Daniel of Bloomfield and J. Scott Wantland of Shepherdsville.

Jack Brammer: (859) 231-1302. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog:

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