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With recanvasses behind them, two primary winners look to November

Aaron Reed won Senate 7, and William Zorn won House 36. No changes were found in either election

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A live feed shows Jefferson County Clerk employees conduct a recanvass Thursday. (Kentucky Lantern photo by McKenna Horsley)

LOUISVILLE — About a week after Kentucky’s primary election, two races were recanvassed, but their outcomes did not change.

Though results still need to be certified, Aaron Reed won the Republican primary in the 7th Senate District and William “Woody” Zorn won the Democratic primary in the 36th House District. Secretary of State Michael Adams said on social media that the elections had no changes. 

Both Reed and Zorn watched the recanvass at the Jefferson County Clerk Elections Center on Thursday. The districts include parts of Jefferson County. 

Senate District 7

Reed defeated incumbent Sen. Adrienne Southworth and Ed Gallerin, who was backed by Republican Senate leadership. Reed had 118 votes more than Gallerin, or about a 1% difference. 

After the recanvass concluded, Reed said he was glad that process was over. 

Unofficial results in the Republican primary for the 7th Senate District. (Screenshot from the Kentucky State Board of Elections)

“I think a lot of people thought I was the incumbent to tell you the truth because I had been running so long,” Reed said. He added that he has been working on his campaign for three years, even before the 7th Senate District was redistricted to include part of Jefferson County and Anderson, Shelby, and Henry counties. 

Reed said he resonated with voters in the district who are “the average Joe, regular guys.” Reed owns gun shops, is a retired Navy SEAL, and is a father of six. 

He is now looking toward the November election as he faces Democratic opponent Rhonda Davis. Reed said he plans to get to know voters in Jefferson County more in the months ahead as he received 546 votes in that county. 

Reed said he will join the Senate with a few allies in the legislature, if elected. Rep. John Hodgson, the Republican incumbent in the 36th House District, joined Reed at the election center Thursday. The districts overlap and the two Republicans will have campaign events together. 

If elected to the Senate, Reed said he plans to focus on education. He supports a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow the General Assembly to fund nonpublic schools, known as Amendment 2. If the amendment passes in November, that topic is likely to move forward in the 2025 legislative session, which would also be Reed’s first session if he wins the general election. 

Reed said implementing “school choice” in Kentucky could increase competition among schools. 

House District 36

Zorn, who defeated Colin Daugherty McDowell by a five-vote difference, said he will meet voters where they are to unify them behind him heading to November. Zorn will face Hodgson in the general election. 

Zorn said he ultimately won his primary because of his family’s “public service background.” His grandfather, Wilson Wyatt, was mayor of Louisville in the 1940s, and his father was a police officer. 

Unofficial results in the Republican primary for the 36th House District. (Screenshot from the Kentucky State Board of Elections)

If elected to the House, Zorn plans to “shine a light on issues facing public schools and actually have them do something about it.” A teacher at Hebron Middle School, Zorn said the constitutional amendment about funding nonpublic schools is intertwined with his election.

“I think that they (voters) can make two moves against this by, one, voting against the amendment and, two, putting another public school educator into the legislature,” Zorn said. 

Zorn said another lawmaker he will closely align with would be Rep. Tina Bojanowski. She’s another Louisville Democrat who is a public school teacher and serves on the House Education Committee. 

Kentucky’s general election is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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Written by McKenna Horsley. Cross-posted from the Kentucky Lantern.



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Kentucky Lantern

The Kentucky Lantern is an independent, nonpartisan, free news service. We’re based in Frankfort a short walk from the Capitol, but all of Kentucky is our beat.

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