Kentucky Political News Headlines

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

KY Primary Election Results from Government Strategies


Kentuckians went to the polls today for the 2022 primary elections to determine party nominees for the general election in November. While most incumbents won their primary elections handily this evening, some did succumb to the political rhetoric levied by their opponents and the outside groups that stormed Kentucky these past few weeks with political ads in mailboxes and on the airwaves.


This primary season was marked by the strong emergence of so-called "liberty caucus" candidates. These candidates were especially strong in more urban areas, marking a notable change in the activist base in the Republican party with many primary elections focusing on very right-leaning issues.


Northern Kentucky especially saw a rise in the liberty caucus candidates, and several prominent House Republican incumbents fell to their far-right opponents. Judiciary Chairman Ed Massey, Licensing & Occupations Chairman Adam Koenig, and Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation Committee Chairman Sal Santoro could not overcome their primary challengers. In total 6 incumbents lost their election bids: 5 GOP members (Koenig, Santoro, Massey, Bechler, Kirk-McCormick) and 1 Democrat member (Burch).


With several prominent House chairmen losing their primary elections or retiring from the body there will be many new faces leading key committees, including: State Government, Licensing & Occupations, Banking & Insurance, Budget Review on Transportation, and Judiciary.


There were no upsets among Senate incumbents, as Senator Donald Douglas defeated his opponent in the 22nd Senate District which was expected to be a close race.  Former state senator, Gex Williams, won a crowded Republican primary in the 20th Senate district and will face Teresa Barton in November.


The main Congressional seat in question was that of retiring Chairman John Yarmuth, whose sudden retirement quickly opened the door for State Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey. McGarvey faced off against State Representative Attica Scott, who had announced for the seat before Yarmuth's retirement. McGarvey won the race by a wide margin and will likely be the favorite in the General Election this fall.


Last week we previewed some of the most competitive state House and Senate races, and we've outlined the results of those races below.


House Races (All House primary winners can be viewed in this spreadsheet in bold*)

*Results for House District 41 and House District 43 were still outstanding at this writing.


- District 1: Republican House Majority Floor Leader Steven Rudy, a farm store owner from Paducah, handily won his race against Christopher Tucker, a farmer from Clinton.

- District 12: Representative Jim Gooch, an insurance agent and the current House Natural Resources & Energy Committee chairman from Providence, emerged victorious against Representative Lynn Bechler, a retiree from Marion in the Republican primary. Their individual districts were combined during redistricting this year – one of four races that pit incumbents against each other.

- District 18: Representative Samara Heavrin, one of the youngest members of the House majority and a small business owner, held off a challenge from Jacob Clark, a minister from Leitchfield, in the Republican primary. This was considered one of the most competitive primary races.

- District 24: House Appropriations and Revenue Vice Chairman Brandon Reed beat his challenger Courtney Gilbert of Hodgenville, who is a music teacher. Notably, Gilbert is the sister of State Senator Adrienne Southworth, considered one of the most far-right state senators in office.

- District 30: Longtime Louisville Democratic Representative Tom Burch, a retiree who has served in the House nearly continuously since 1972, could not overcome a strong challenge from Daniel Grossberg, an entrepreneur.

- District 59: Republican Speaker of the House David Osborne, a business owner, easily won his primary against Bridgette Ehly, a homemaker.

- District 60: Representative Sal Santoro of Union, a small business owner, lost his Republican nomination to fellow Union resident, former speech pathologist Marianne Proctor.

- District 66: Representative Ed Massey of Hebron, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was unseated by Steve Rawlings, an attorney from Burlington in the Republican primary.

- District 69: Representative Adam Koenig of Erlanger, the chairman of the House Licensing and Occupations Committee, lost in his challenge from Steven Doan, an attorney also from Erlanger, in the Republican primary. Doan was endorsed by Republican Congressman Thomas Massie. This was the most competitive House primary race this May.

- District 97: Sitting Republican Representative Bobby McCool, a retired teacher from Van Lear, beat out Rep. Norma Kirk-McCormick, a retiree from Inez, for the newly drawn District 97 that paired two incumbents against each other.

Senate Races (All Senate primary winners can be viewed in this spreadsheet in bold)

- District 22: Senator Donald Douglas of Nicholasville, a physician, faced a tough challenge from Andrew Cooperrider, a business owner from Lexington, in the Republican primary. Congressman Massie endorsed Cooperrider over incumbent Douglas, who made waves early in the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns by refusing to close down his business or enforce health mandates.

- District 34: Senate Banking & Insurance Chairman Jared Carpenter, a builder and farmer from Berea, easily bested his challenger from the right, Rhonda Goode, a fitness instructor from Richmond.


Two open seats had several primary candidates, and the winner of these will each face a Democratic challenger in the fall:

- District 20: Gex Williams, a business consultant and former state senator, emerged victorious in the four-way primary for this open seat. Gex Williams is considered one of the liberty caucus candidates.

- District 24: Shelley Funke Frommeyer, a financial planner, won the three-way primary for the seat formerly held by Senate Economic Development Chairman Wil Schroder, who retired this year.


Please note that these are still considered unofficial, incomplete results until certified by the Secretary of State's office. For exact numbers on each race, please visit the Kentucky Secretary of State's website for official results.


Please don't hesitate to reach out to us with questions and stay tuned for our upcoming 2022 Interim Preview.