FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday set a special election March 3 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Democrat Walter Blevins Jr. of Morehead from the Kentucky Senate.
Blevins, who has been in the Senate since 1992 and was in the House from 1982 to 1992, resigned Sunday to take over Monday as Rowan County judge-executive, a position he won in the Nov. 4 election by narrowly beating Republican Richard White.
Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said March 3 was the earliest possible date for the special election in the Senate's 27th District. It includes Bourbon, Fleming, Harrison, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, Robertson and Rowan counties.
Beshear had until noon Tuesday to set the date, or the responsibility for calling the election would have fallen to Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester.
Never miss a local story.
The law says the governor can call a special election to fill a legislative seat if the legislature is not in session. The session begins at noon Tuesday.
Now, party chairmen in the district's counties will nominate their candidates.
State Democratic Party chairman Dan Logsdon and state Republican Party chairman Steve Robertson said Monday their parties would field candidates.
Democrats mentioned as possible candidates include banker Scott McCauley of Harrison County, Maysville attorney Kelly Caudill, James Bodie Stevens of Rowan County, Paris Mayor Mike Thornton and Paige Short of Paris.
Caudill said Democrats would pick a candidate Saturday at a meeting in Morehead.
Robertson said he knows Republicans who are "interested" in the race, but said their names would emerge later.
With Blevins' resignation, there are now 26 Republicans and 11 Democrats in the Senate. Democrats control the state House by a margin of 54-46.