The Latest: Democrats win 3 House seats in Kentucky
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The Latest: Democrats win 3 House seats in Kentucky
Mar. 09, 2016
GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on the election in Kentucky for four seats in the state House of Representatives (all times local):
Democrat Chuck Tackett has won a special election for a Kentucky House seat previously held by Republicans, bringing the tally for the night to three seats claimed by Democrats and just one by the GOP.
Tackett's defeat of Republican Phillip Pratt in Tuesday's special election in the 62nd House District thwarted Republicans' attempt to seize control of the House. The central Kentucky district includes Owen County and parts of Fayette and Scott counties.
The seat became open when Republican Ryan Quarles was elected as state agriculture commissioner in last year's election.
Tackett is a former Scott County magistrate. He lost to Quarles in the 2014 House race.
Republicans pushed hard to win the four special elections Tuesday and upend Democratic control of the House. But Democrats fended them off to maintain a 53-47 majority.
Democrat Jeff Taylor beat a Republican businessman to win a seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives, a crucial victory for the Democratic party and a blow to the GOP's push to seize the statehouse.
Taylor, who retired from the Tennessee Valley Authority, will be the first African-American to represent the 8th District.
Walker Wood Thomas, owner of the Roller Dome Fun Plex in Hopkinsville, conceded. Taylor replaces John Tilley, a Democrat appointed state public safety secretary by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.
Democratic leaders fretted they would lose the district, which includes parts of Christian and Trigg counties, as the GOP continued its takeover of state politics.
But a robo call from President Barack Obama in the waning days of the campaign could have helped Taylor in Hopkinsville, which has one of the largest African-American populations in the state.
Democrats have held on to a state House seat in eastern Kentucky, denying Republican efforts to seize at least a share of power in the last legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats.
Republican Tony Quillen conceded Tuesday's special election to Democrat Lew Nicholls, according to Quillen's campaign manager. Nicholls will replace Democrat Tanya Pullin, who resigned last year after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin appointed her to an administrative law judge post.
Nicholls gives Democrats at least 51 members out of 100 seats, depending on the outcome of three other special elections elsewhere in the state on Tuesday.
Nicholls is a former state judge who benefited from a heavy labor union presence in Greenup County. He pledged to defend the state's prevailing wage law and promised to vote against right-to-work legislation.
Republicans have held on to a Kentucky House seat with Daniel B. Elliott's victory in a special election.
Elliott defeated Democrat Bill Noelker in Tuesday's special election pitting two Danville attorneys in the 54th District. The central Kentucky district includes Boyle and Casey counties.
The House seat was vacated by Republican Mike Harmon, who was elected state auditor last November.
The Kentucky House is the last Southern legislative chamber controlled by Democrats. Democrats held a 50-46 House margin leading up to four special elections Tuesday in the state.
Elliott is on the ballot in the spring primary election as he seeks a full two-year term.
President Barack Obama is asking voters to elect an African-American Democrat in a special Kentucky house race.
The president recorded a phone call to voters in House district 8 in western Kentucky in support of Jeffrey Taylor. It is one of four special elections on Tuesday that could determine which party controls the House of Representatives. The Kentucky House is the last legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats.
The Richmond Register reports (http://bit.ly/1RyS0xG ) Obama urged voters to vote for Taylor because he "will protect your health insurance, not take it away." Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has vowed to repeal the state's expanded Medicaid program made possible by Obama's signature health care law. Bevin wants to replace it with a less expensive option.
Adam Rumohr, campaign manager for Republican Walker Thomas, said the call was a desperate move by Democrats.
Sara Sutton and Laura Guthrie are friends who came together to vote on Tuesday, but the political paths they took to the ballot box are much different.
Sutton used to be a Democrat, but now she is a Republican. She voted for Republican Phillip Pratt in House district 62 because she said she supports Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget cuts. While she said the cuts will be painful, she said they were necessary to keeping the state financially sound.
Guthrie used to be a Republican, but now she is a Democrat. She voted for Democrat Chuck Tackett because she said if Republicans control the state House of Representatives they will pass abortion restrictions and bills that would allow businesses to use religious objections to not serve gays and lesbians.
Kentucky voters are trickling to the polls for a set of elections that could upend Democratic control of the Kentucky House of Representatives for the first time in nearly a century.
Clerks in Casey and Boyle counties report a slow turnout for Tuesday's special election, meaning the races could be decided by a handful of votes.
John Chitwood, a 70-year-old former schoolteacher, made it out to vote at a fire station in Boyle County. He cast his ballot for Democrat Bill Noelker, a lawyer and former fighter pilot. He said he feared Republicans, with "crackpot ideas," would "steamroll us" if handed total control of state government.
Insurance agent John Russell picked Daniel Elliot, a Republican lawyer, because he believes the GOP is friendlier to the coal industry and better at budgeting.
The fate of the last legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats is in the hands of a few thousand Kentucky voters in four House districts throughout the state.
Voters on Tuesday are electing four state representatives in a series of special elections created by resignations and two strategic appointments by new Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. Democrats have 50 members. Republicans have 46.
A Republican sweep of the four races would mean Democrats would not control the chamber for the first time since 1920 and hand Bevin a trump card as he tries to push through $650 million in state spending cuts.
The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.