The GOP’s lopsided control of the state Senate didn’t change Tuesday as all incumbents of both parties won and Republicans held an open district.
Republicans will have 27 seats to 11 for Democrats when the legislature convenes in January, matching the current margin.
In one of two races in Central Kentucky, Republican Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown, the majority floor leader, turned back a challenge for the 17th District seat from Democrat Charlie Hoffman, a Scott County magistrate and former state representative.
Thayer crushed Hoffman in the money race, reporting general-election campaign receipts of $381,662 and expenditures of $216,198 as of Oct. 24, compared with $5,467 in contributions to Hoffman.
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The financial edge allowed Thayer to do significant advertising that Hoffman could not match.
In the other race that included Central Kentucky counties, Republican Sen. Stephen West of Bourbon County, a farmer and real-estate attorney, defeated the Democratic nominee, Charles Linville III, to win a full term in the 27th District.
West won a special election in 2015 for a partial term after longtime Sen. Walter Blevins, a Democrat, was elected Rowan County judge-executive and left the seat.
Linville, a farmer, reported no campaign contributions or spending for the general election and apparently campaigned only lightly.
Half the seats in the Senate were up for election this year, but many were decided in the primary. There were only six contested races in Tuesday’s election.
In one, the Senate Democratic Caucus Committee had contributed $32,500 to the campaign of Leslie Stith, a Meade County farmer, in hopes of taking the 5th District seat from the GOP.
That included $22,500 in mid-October for a late push against the Republican nominee, Stephen Meredith.
The seat was open because Republican Sen. Carroll Gibson, who had held it for more than a decade, did not seek re-election.
However, Meredith, of Grayson County, outpolled Stith by a significant margin.
Meredith is a retired hospital administrator whose son is deputy general counsel for Gov. Matt Bevin.
In Tuesday’s other contested races:
▪ Incumbent Republican Albert Robinson of London easily turned away a challenge by Janice Odom, a business consultant and publishing-company owner from Clay City.
Robinson lives in the most populous county in the district and had a significant edge in name recognition after more than 30 years in the state House and Senate.
▪ Democratic Sen. Morgan McGarvey, an attorney, won re-election by a comfortable margin over challenger Larry West in the 19th District in Louisville.
▪ Longtime Sen. Gerald Neal, a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Shenita Rickman, who runs a non-profit agency, in the 33rd District in Louisville.
Neal’s primary challengers had painted him as out of touch with the district, but Neal won re-election by a wide margin.