Politics & Government

Some Ky. voters will get to cast ballots in two different congressional races

Andy Barr, left, and Ben Chandler
Andy Barr, left, and Ben Chandler

FRANKFORT — Voters in six Kentucky counties, including northern Scott County, will get to cast ballots Nov. 6 in two separate congressional district races.

That political oddity is due to a vacancy in one district and this year's redrawing of congressional district boundary lines by state lawmakers.

Parts or all of the six counties are in the process of moving from the 4th District in Northern Kentucky to the 6th District in Central Kentucky.

The 4th District seat is vacant after the July 31 resignation of Rep. Geoff Davis, so a special vote on Election Day will determine who fills out the rest of Davis' term through early January.

The special election is being held in all the counties of the old 4th District as it was defined before the legislature redrew the district boundaries to reflect census changes.

But the six counties that are moving also will vote in their new district — the 6th — where incumbent Democrat Ben Chandler of Versailles is challenged by Republican Andy Barr of Lexington. That is a regular election for a two-year term beginning in January.

In the 4th District, Republican Thomas Massie, former judge-executive of Lewis County, and Democrat Bill Adkins, a Grant County attorney, seek to replace Davis, who cited family concerns as his reason for resigning.

In most of the 4th District, Massie and Adkins are actually on the ballot twice — first in the special election to fill out the rest of Davis' term, then in the regular election for a two-year term that begins in January.

But the six counties that are switching districts will not vote in the 4th District's regular election for the two-year term.

Gov. Steve Beshear called for the special election to be held on the same day as the general election to save counties the cost of holding a separate election.

The six counties that are moving — all or in part — from the 4th District to the 6th District are:

■ Bath (part was in the 4th; all will be in the 6th).

■ Fleming.

■ Harrison (all was in the 4th; part will be in the 6th).

■ Nicholas.

■ Robertson.

■ Scott (part was in the 4th; all will be in the 6th).

The candidates are coping with the confusion.

David Host, a spokesman for the Barr campaign, said, "Being on the ballot with another strong candidate like Thomas Massie will only help our campaign."

Host said the Barr campaign will use phone calls and mailings to educate voters in the six counties about the two congressional district elections on their ballots.

Meghan Groob, a spokeswoman for the Chandler campaign, said, "We are aware of the situation. Congressman Chandler will continue to spend time in the new counties talking to voters and listening to their needs and concerns."

Massie said he is contemplating phone and postcard campaigns in the six counties.

He and Barr appeared together at an event in Fleming County last week and might appear together at other events.

"I think it's important that voters realize they should vote for both of us, not just one of us. I am glad to help Andy Barr in the overlapping counties," Massie said.

Adkins campaign spokesperson Jim Cole said, "Bill Adkins will continue his focus on the people of the 4th Congressional District and will be utilizing his campaign website, social media, emails and phone calls to help spread the word."