LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Thirty percent of the more than 3.3 million Kentuckians registered to vote in the midterm primary election will vote for candidates in the U.S. House and the Legislature on Tuesday.
Only Democrats and Republicans can vote in partisan races on the primary election ballot, but all voters may vote in nonpartisan races requiring a primary. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.
The projected 30 percent voter turnout is the highest in nearly a decade, said Secretary of State Alison Lundergran Grimes. Nearly 32 percent of registered Kentuckians voted in the 2010 midterm primaries.
Kentucky voters have had poor showings with only 20 percent participating in the 2016 presidential election and 12 percent in the 2015 governor’s race. Nearly 25,000 had cast absentee ballots as of last Monday and another 12,000 ballots were mailed to people who requested them, Grimes reported in a news release.
In the U.S. House’s 6th District, a crowded field of six Democrats running to face Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr. The top contenders appear to be Lexington Maylor Jim Gray and Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot making her first attempt at public office. The other Democrats are state Rep. Reggie Thomas, Theodore David Green, Geoff Young and Daniel Kemph. Barr has a challenger in the Republican primary in Chuck Eddy.
The 3rd District Republican primary includes Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, the former top-ranking heath official in the Bevin administration, against Mike Craven and Rhonda Plazzo. The winner of the GOP primary faces U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, the lone Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation, in the fall.
In the 1st District, the winner in the matchup between Democrats Alonzo Pennington and Paul Walker will challenge U.S. Rep. James Comer in November.
Democrats will select nominees to challenge four other Republican congressmen, who will be prohibitive favorites to hold their seats in November.
The Democratic ballot in the 2nd District includes Hank Linderman, Brian Pedigo, Rane Eir Olivia Sessions and Grant Short. U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie will face the winner in the fall.
In the 4th District, Democrats Seth Hall, Christina Lord and Patti Piatt are running for a chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie. In the 5th District, the Democratic candidates are Kenneth Stepp and Scott Sykes. U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, dean of the state's congressional delegation, is being challenged by Republican Gerardo Serrano. Comer, Guthrie and Massie are unopposed in the primary.
Half of the 38 state Senate seats and all 100 House seats are on the ballot.
Several Republican incumbents are up against educators in the primary. Teachers, who rallied by the thousands at the state Capital this spring to oppose changes to public pension systems and were further fueled by comments from Gov. Bevin, vowed to vote out representatives who went against them.
Republicans took control of the House after almost a century of Democratic control in the last general election. Republicans also have the majority in the Senate.
County offices throughout the state are also up for grabs including races for judge-executive, county clerk, coroner, jailer and sheriff.