An historic Senate win

December 11, 2013 

Democratic candidate Reginald Thomas photographed in the Herald-Leader editorial boardroom in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, October 23, 2013. He is one of three candidates in the Dec. 10 special election for the state Senate's 13th District seat formerly held by Democrat Kathy Stein. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff

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Congratulations to state Sen.-elect Reggie Thomas and also to Lexington voters who made history Tuesday by becoming Kentucky's first majority-white district to elect a black senator.

District 13 has a long history of sending strong progressives to Frankfort, and, though we endorsed Independent Richard Moloney, Thomas promises to carry on that progressive tradition.

A professor and lawyer, Thomas, a Democrat, will succeed Kathy Stein who was appointed a judge by Gov. Steve Beshear.

Thomas, whose Pimlico Parkway neighborhood was added to the district during this year's redistricting, has a long history of community and public school involvement and political activism. After losing a state House race last year, he and his supporters worked hard to turn out voters in the special election.

Both of his opponents were registered Democrats until recently.

Republican Michael Johnson is a minister who became interested in politics working in the campaigns of Republicans David Williams and Andy Barr.

Moloney is heir to a Democratic legacy in Lexington — both his grandfather and uncle held the 13th District seat. He registered as an Independent after it became clear Thomas would be the Democratic nominee.

We thought Moloney's long experience in government, on the Urban County Council and in state and local administrative positions, gave him a narrow edge for success in the Republican-led Senate.

But we are confident that Thomas will quickly grow in the job and serve Lexington well.

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