The 2022 primaries have come and gone, but their impact will be felt for some time.
Many people sort of pooh-pooh primaries, and don’t make much of an effort to get to the polls. (I was a poll-worker yesterday, so I speak from experience.) And yet, in a dramatically polarized state like Kentucky, the primary is often THE election.
As noted before, many races went uncontested at the primary level, which you can see by scanning the tables below. As a result, there were very few upsets. There was, however, a little drama tied to the growing split in the GOP, and one race matching a long-LONG-time incumbent against a sorta-newcomer.
No surprises here – Charles Booker won the Democratic nomination, and Rand Paul won the Republican side.
It is worth noting, though, the historic nature of Booker’s nomination. Even if he doesn’t defeat Paul, it is the first time a Black candidate has won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. And with 78% of the vote, this was a clear victory for Booker.
Congressional District 3
Again, not too much drama here – Morgan McGarvey defeated Attica Scott for the Democratic nomination for John Yarmuth’s seat, and did so handily: 63% to 37%. Since this is a heavily Democratic district, McGarvey should be the next Congress person from Louisville.
The real drama in this race is on the Republican side. With 95% of the vote in, Stuart Ray leads Rhonda Palazzo by 58 votes.
Other Congressional primaries
CD 2 Dem – Hank Linderman defeated William Compton 58% to 42%.
CD 4 Rep – Thomas Massie defeated Claire Wirth 75% to 16%.
CD 5 Rep – Hal Rogers defeated Gerardo Serrano 83% to 6%.
CD 6 Dem – Geoff Young defeated Chris Preece 52% to 48%.
CD 6 Rep – Andy Barr defeated Derek Petteys 88% to 12%.
The Geoff Young victory is evidence that Republicans aren’t the only ones who nominate “out there" candidates. Young is both a perennial candidate and a somewhat-Democratic gadfly who has taken on his own party multiple times, including suing the party over its handling of elections. He also called Amy McGrath a war criminal at a public event. (I was there.) Geoff Young versus Andy Barr will produce regular fireworks, that is for sure.
State Legislature races
Below are two tables with the results of all the contested races for legislative nominations. Some things to note before we get to the tables.
Far-right “Liberty” caucus loses some races ...
The struggle between the establishment Repubs (who are still right-wing) and the upstart “Liberty” group (way-out-there right-wing, including some Q folks) was the main story in a number of the Republican primaries. The party leadership obviously sees the Liberty folks as at least an annoyance and at most a threat, so in some cases they drew districts to put the Liberty folks at a disadvantage.
An example is the race between Jim Gooch and Lynn Bechler. Bechler is the Liberty incumbent who got districted against Gooch. Gooch won, so there’s one Liberty incumbent out of the House.
In another race to watch, far-right candidate Andrew Cooperrider took on incumbent Donald Douglass, and it looked for a long time like Cooperrider would win. Not only did Cooperrider out-raise Douglas as of the last financial report, outside groups were putting money into the race at a pretty good clip.
And yet, it appears the incumbent Douglas has fended off the challenge from the man who sued Governor over mask mandates and then tried to get Beshear impeached. Another so-called “Liberty” candidate defeated.
Rep. Kim King, Samara Heavrin, and Brandon Reed also fended off challenges from their right.
... But also wins some significant races
In Northern Kentucky, three incumbent Republicans who were committee chairmen all lost their primaries. Their opponents received financial support from the same PACs that supported Cooperrider.
– Rep. Adam Koenig was defeated by Steven Doan, 54% to 46%
– Rep. Ed Massey was defeated by Steve Rawlings, 69% to 31%
– and Rep. Sal Santoro was defeated by Marianne Proctor, 52% to 48%
It will be interesting to see how these districts vote in the fall, and whether Democrats can beat candidates from the far-right edge of the Republican party.
Longest-serving House Dem loses
Rep. Tom Burch, the 24-term representative from Louisville, lost to Daniel Grossberg, a local Democratic activist who was born after Burch started serving in the House.
The 90-year-old Burch had missed some votes this year due to illness, which Grossberg called out in his campaign. Grossberg won 45% to 42%.
Incumbent Pam Stevenson fends off small-donor challenger
In a race pitting an incumbent with an incumbent’s fund-raising advantages against a long-time local activist with a strong small-donor program, Rep. Pam Stevenson defeated Robert Levertis Bell.
The key issue in the race was the West End Opportunity Partnership, which Stevenson voted for. Bell repeatedly called her out for hit, calling the Partnership “a scam to extract value from our communities.”
All State Senate primaries
|4||R||Mills* 78%||Ashby 22%|
|22||R||Douglas* 56%||Cooperrider 44%|
|26||R||Peden 43%||Downer 36%|
|6||R||Tichenor 58%||Ferko 42%|
|34||R||Carpenter* 76%||Goode 24%|
|24||R||Frommeyer 39%||Neal 36%|
|30||D||Allen 57%||Salyer 43%|
|20||R||Williams 42%||Sparks 23%|
All State House primaries
|1||R||Rudy* 61%||Tucker 39%|
|4||R||Williams 67%||Sharp 33%|
|8||R||Thomas* 58%||Curling 42%|
|12||R||Gooch* 55%||Bechler* 45%|
|15||R||Raymer 61%||Dukes 39%|
|18||R||Heavrin* 57%||Clark 43%|
|20||R||Jackson 86%||Lopez 14%|
|21||R||Neighbors 33%||Carter 30%|
|24||D||Pruitt 70%||Pennington 30%|
|24||R||Reed* 68%||Gilbert 32%|
|25||R||Bratcher 68%||Bennett 32%|
|28||D||Miller* 66%||Baker 34%|
|30||D||Grossberg 45%||Burch* 42%|
|31||D||Foster 63%||Penwell 37%|
|31||R||Witten 76%||Breckinridge 24%|
|34||D||Stalker 61%||Lowe 39%|
|36||R||Hodgson 48%||Howser 35%|
|37||R||Callaway 63%||Maricle 37%|
|41||D||Raymond* 78%||Young 22%|
|41||R||McKeehan 44%||Cottrell 33%|
|43||D||Stevenson* 54%||Bell 46%|
|50||R||Massaroni 51%||Bradley 49%|
|52||R||Upchurch* 63%||King 37%|
|55||R||King* 54%||Wheatley 46%|
|56||D||Vandegrift 65%||Nolan 35%|
|59||R||Osborne* 68%||Ehly 32%|
|60||R||Proctor 52%||Santoro* 48%|
|61||R||Maddox* 71%||Lykins 29%|
|62||R||Pratt* 80%||Nance 20%|
|64||R||Moser* 74%||Mann 26%|
|66||R||Rawlings 69%||Massey* 31%|
|68||R||Clines 54%||Kloeker 31%|
|69||R||Doan 54%||Koenig* 46%|
|73||D||Adams 53%||Houlihan 47%|
|75||D||Burke 85%||Couch 15%|
|79||D||Aull 87%||Bramhall 13%|
|86||R||Smith* 76%||Dinsmore 24%|
|91||R||Wesley* 63%||Billings 37%|
|94||R||Justice 52%||Edwards 48%|
|95||R||Spencer 58%||Pennington 42%|
|97||R||McCool* 60%||Kirk McCormick 40%|
|98||R||Bentley* 73%||Campbell 27%|
|99||D||Anderson 66%||Frazier 34%|
Forward Kentucky Newsletter
Sign up for free to get the weekly update right in your inbox.
– Only real names and email addresses allowed for sign-ups and comments.
– Vigorous discussion is encouraged, but comments that go over the line will be deleted.
Sign in or become a Forward Kentucky Subscriber to join the conversation. Just enter your email below to get a log in link.