FRANKFORT — All five incumbent state Senators with primary opposition appeared poised to win late Tuesday night.
In Fayette County, longtime Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, turned back Andy Roberts, a Lexington veterinarian who has been critical of Kerr's opposition to the expansion of gambling at the state's racetracks.
Kerr, who was first elected in 1999, faces Democrat and former longtime Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins Sr. for the 12th Senate District. Kerr has been challenged by the Democrats before and won. In 2006, she defeated former state Supreme Court Justice James Keller by double digits.
Kerr said she felt that her leadership and stances on a host of issues, not just her anti-gambling stance, contributed to her success. "I feel that Fayette County has been so good to me," Kerr said late Tuesday. "I am looking forward to another victory in the fall."
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Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, also narrowly fended off a challenge by Chad Crouch, an anti-gambling Wilmore marketing executive, in the 20th Senate District seat, which includes Jessamine County and a portion of southern Fayette county.
Buford has no opposition in the fall.
Sen. R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, beat Democratic challenger Ryan Dotson, an Army veteran and minister, in the 28th Senate District. That district includes Bath, Bourbon, Clark, Harrison, Montgomery and Nicholas counties. In the Republican primary for the same seat, Ralph Alvarado defeated Bryan Lutz.
Palmer and Alvarado will face off in the fall.
Other incumbents who survived challenges include Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, and Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood.
Harris faces Democrat John W. Black of LaGrange in the fall. Williams has no Democratic opponent.
There were two open Senate seats this year after Sen. Gary Tapp, R-Shelbyville, and Sen. Ed Worley, D-Richmond, announced that they would not seek re-election.
In a tight race for Worley's seat, Republican banker Jared Carpenter narrowly defeated Dr. Kent Kessler, a surgeon who led in fund-raising.
Democrat Lee Murphy, the president of an Internet service provider, defeated small business owner Mike Cope and Landra Lewis, a mediation consultant, by less than 150 votes, according to unofficial vote totals.
The 34th District covers Madison, Rockcastle and Lincoln counties.
In the race for the Democratic nomination for Tapp's seat, David Eaton beat John E. Spainhour for the 20th Senate District seat, which includes Shelby, Spencer and Bullitt counties. Eaton will face Republican Paul Hornback in the fall. Hornback handily defeated David Glauber.