FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The swearing-in ceremony for the winner of a special election to the Kentucky House earlier this week could occur on the same day another special election takes place.
Democrat Linda Belcher won a special election Tuesday to fill the vacancy created in the 49th District encompassing part of Bullitt County when Republican Dan Johnson killed himself last year after facing sexual assault allegations.
Johnson defeated Belcher in the 2016 general election by less than 200 votes but his widow, Rebecca Johnson, failed in her bid to win her husband’s seat by a better than 2-to-1 margin.
Interestingly, Belcher first won the seat in 2008 after her husband Larry Belcher, who had held the seat, was killed in a car accident. She served two terms, then was beaten by Republican Russell Webber in 2012. She returned to the House for another term after defeating Republican Michael Nemes in 2014.
House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, said he hopes the Democrat’s victory is the beginning of a trend.
“There’s more energy on the ground than I have ever seen in my political career. And for the first time in some time, I feel like I have a little wind at my back, instead of a hurricane to my face.”
The State Board of Elections will meet Tuesday at 10 a.m. to certify the vote totals. If they do, which is almost a certainty, Belcher could take the oath of office when the House meets at 2 p.m. that same afternoon.
Another special election is scheduled for Tuesday in the 89th District, which includes Jackson County as well as parts of Laurel and Madison counties, where Republican Marie Rader resigned Dec. 31, 2017, after 20 years in office.
Democrat Kelly Smith of Richmond, a librarian at Eastern Kentucky University, faces off against Republican Robert Goforth of Laurel County, who owns several pharmacies as well as a farm in East Bernstadt, in the race.
Adkins said Democrats have the same energy leading up to that election, however, “It’s a little bit tougher district as far as party registration goes, but I know we have a candidate who is working very hard.”
The polls will be open Tuesday for the special election from 6 in the morning until 6 in the evening.