FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Polls have opened across Kentucky in a primary election that has drawn an especially crowded field of legislative candidates, many of them teachers.
Some 40 educators, including several who have already retired, are seeking seats in the Kentucky General Assembly. Of those, 24 will advance automatically to the November general election because they have no primary opponents.
Teachers flooded into legislative races because they objected to changes lawmakers made to the state's financially troubled retirement systems for government employees.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the state’s top election official, has predicted a larger than normal turnout for the primary.
Polls will be open until 6 p.m. local time.
One of the most-watched primary races has Rockcastle County High School math teacher R. Travis Brenda challenging House Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell for the Republican nomination.
Shell was one of the key lawmakers in drafting a plan intended to restore solvency to the state's financially burdened retirement systems for government employees, including teachers.
Also, on Tuesday’s ballots in central Kentucky, six Democrats are competing for their party’s nomination to face U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in November.
Frontrunners for the Democratic congressional nomination are former U.S. Marine Corp fighter pilot Amy McGrath and current Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, both of whom have bombarded TV viewers in the Lexington market with round-the-clock ads.
Both McGrath and Gray have raised more than $1 million for their primary campaigns.