State Democratic Rep. Russ Meyer of Nicholasville, who has become a political target and rival of Gov. Matt Bevin, won re-election Tuesday in the 39th House District, which includes most of Jessamine County and a small portion of southern Fayette County.
Meyer, a former mayor of Nicholasville, won his second two-year term as state representative against Republican Robert L. Gullette III.
Bevin campaigned hard for his party’s nominee in hopes of ousting Meyer from the state legislature.
On a recent Facebook posting, Bevin said he was “morally obligated” to call Meyer “a habitual liar.”
Bevin and his chief of staff, Blake Brickman, have tangled publicly with Meyer since news broke this summer that Meyer rebuffed their offer last December to switch political parties.
Their dislike for Meyer intensified as he claimed that Bevin delayed a multimillion-dollar road project in his district as punishment for not switching parties.
In August, Meyer released a recording of a voice mail message from Bevin last December that he said warns him of the “impacts” of not switching parties.
Meyer said people in his district were outraged with the Bevin administration’s decision earlier this year to delay the East Brannon Road project in Jessamine County because the state still had not acquired all of the land necessary to begin construction. The project was approved in the waning days of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration. The delay forced taxpayers to pay the contractor a $625,000 penalty.
Bevin blamed the delay on the prior administration, saying it rushed to bid the project before the necessary land had been acquired. But Meyer said Bevin purposefully delayed it to punish him for not agreeing to become a Republican before the start of the 2016 legislative session in January.
In the campaign, Gullette, a Nicholasville attorney, argued that Meyer has no chance of helping the district, which has 15,553 Democrats and 14,411 Republicans.