Kentucky Political News Headlines

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011 Primary Election Update

Kentucky voters went to the polls Tuesday in record-low numbers to determine the Democratic and Republican nominees for state-wide Constitutional Offices: Governor & Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, and Commissioner of Agriculture.

Voter turnout for the Primary on Tuesday was around 9%, with just over 270,000 ballots cast. AP Story on Low Turnout

Primary Results: Winners in Yellow & (i) signifies incumbents

Governor & Lt. Governor

Democrat: Governor Steve Beshear (i) - Unopposed in Primary

Republican: David Williams 48%,  Phil Moffett  38%, and Bobbie Holsclaw 14%        

In the Republican primary, State Senate President David Williams won in a three-way race defeating Tea Party candidate Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw. For Williams that was the good news, unfortunately he failed to achieve a majority of the Republican votes cast on Tuesday despite out spending his competitors significantly.

Williams will face incumbent Governor Steve Beshear in November, who was unopposed in the primary. Beshear has a significant campaign war chest of more than $4 million and the power of incumbency as his assets. Williams will have support from national Republican groups like the Republican Governor's Association to help even out the differences in fundraising. Its early to chart out the gameplan for each campaign, but Beshear will run on his efforts to attract jobs and balancing the budget through tough economic times. Williams will likely run against Beshear's record, which he will say has no significant policy victories.

All of the other races are really under card bouts as the Office of the Governor is still the top political prize in Kentucky politics and this looks to be a very interesting race.

Attorney General

Democrat: Jack Conway (i) - Unopposed in Primary

Republican: Todd P'Pool - Unopposed in Primary

This race will finally get underway as both candidates moved through the primary unopposed. Conway as the incumbent and coming off of his 2010 run for the US Senate has strong name ID that will make him the front runner. P'Pool as a newcomer on the statewide scene will have to work hard to raise money and increase his exposure in Kentucky.

Secretary of State

Democrat: Alison Lundregan Grimes 55% Elaine Walker (i) 45%

Republican: Bill Johnson 50.4% Hilda Legg 49.6% - Too Close to Call

These were the two most competitive primary elections on Tuesday. For Frankfort insiders, Grimes defeat of Walker, the Democrat incumbent who was appointed by Governor Beshear, was the most intriguing. The race exposes a potential rift in the Democrat Party between Beshear and Grimes' father Jerry Lundergan, a former Democrat Party Chair.

On the Republican side at the time of this writing the two candidates are seperated by only 100 votes with 99.8% of precincts reporting. This race is too close to call.


Democrat: Adam Edelen - Unopposed in Primary

Republican: John Kemper 57% Addia Wuchner 43%

This is an open seat being vacated by Auditor Crit Luallen. The Democrat nominee is Adam Edelen who will have a significant financial advantage in November over his Republican opponent, John Kemper, who defeated State Rep. Wuchner on Tuesday. Kemper has gotten some bad publicity as of late as he is going through a personal bankruptcy.


Democrat: Todd Hollenbach (i) 71% Steve Hamrick 29%

Republican: K.C. Crosbie - Unopposed in Primary

State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach handily beat his Democrat primary opponent and will now face Lexington Council Member K.C. Crosbie. Crosbie is a new comer on the statewide scene, but is not a political novice as she holds a local office and her husband Scot has also held local office in Lexington. Should be competitive in November.

Commissioner of Agriculture

Democrat: Robert Farmer 30%, John Lackey 21%, B.D. Wilson 19%, Stuart Gritton 17%, David Williams 13%

Republican: James Comer 67%, Rob Rothenburger 33%

This is an open seat vacated by Richie Farmer. State Rep. James Comer won handily over his Republican primary opponent and now faces Democrat primary Robert Farmer. Comer will be well positioned to run strong in November as Farmer is a newcomer to politics and apparently the agriculture community as well. 

We will be bringing you more analysis in the days and weeks to come.