KRLA Forum

Kentucky has 38 Senate Districts. To maintain a smoother governing process, elections are held for odd, then for even-numbered districts every two years. This year, of the odd-numbered districts, seven are uncontested:

  • District 1 - Jason Howell (R)
  • District 15 - Rick Girdler (R)
  • District 19 - Morgan McGarvey (D)
  • District 25 - Robert Stivers (R)
  • District 33 - Gerald Neal (D)
  • District 35 - Denise Harper Angel (D)
  • District 37 - David Yates (D)

Of the remaining 12 races,

  • 3 pro-life incumbents face Libertarian and Independent candidates
  • 5 pro-life incumbents face Democrat challengers
  • 3 new Republican candidates face Democrats and others, and
  • 1 Democrat faces an unaffiliated, write-in candidate

Of the active campaigners who are pro-life, it’s likely that those facing Democrats will need the most turnout to win their race. That said, we should not take any race for granted. The 28,433 votes for the Libertarian candidate sank Gov. Bevin’s boat. So, let’s make plain exactly what the Libertarian party stands for:

The right to life— “We support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others…”
On abortion— “Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”

Here are the districts and the Republican incumbents facing a Libertarian:

DistrictCountiesPro-lifeLibertarianIndependent, Write-in
3Christian, Logan, ToddWhitney Westerfield (R)Amanda Billings 
5Breckinridge, Edmonson, Grayson, Hart, LaRue, MeadeStephen Meredith (R)Guy MillerJohn Whipple
27Bourbon, Fleming, Harrison, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, Robertson, RowanStephen West (R)Bryan ShortGene Detherage

It is hard to imagine that the incomparable Westerfield, Meredith or West could lose to these contenders, but there are many ways a race can be snagged, so let’s get out the vote for these fine Senators!

In reading the websites of the Libertarian and Democrat opponents of the pro-life incumbents, a central theme is that the incumbent is out of touch with the district. He does not understand that his constituents are struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford health care and other basics. The incumbent is accused of hobnobbing with lobbyists while ignoring the promises to teachers and school districts, etc., and he is not even sensitive to COVID-19 rules. Promises are made to fix everything by the superior methods and philosophies of the contenders.

Disinformation is promoted. For example, stunted views on the pro-life candidate’s legislative work and perspectives are presented. For that reason, the name of each in the below table is linked to the page on the legislature website that lists their 2020 record of sponsored bills.

One opponent pictures himself with Allison Lundergan Grimes, which seems a bad idea but perhaps proves that, no matter what, many Democrats will never change their vote. Of the counties in these Districts, 10 have more registered Republicans and 5 have more Democrats, but some counts are very close. For the below Democrat candidates, we saw no pro-life sentiment expressed on their campaign sites.

Now for a look at the five pro-life incumbents who are facing Democrat opponents:

DistrictCountiesRepublicanDemocrat
9Allen, Barren, Green, Metcalfe, Monroe, SimpsonDavid GivensBrian Pedigo
11BooneJohn SchickelJames Fiorello
17Grant, Kenton (Part), ScottDamon ThayerJason Stroude
23Kenton (Part)Chris McDanielRyan Olexia
31Elliott, Lawrence, Martin, Morgan, PikePhillip WheelerGlenn Hammond

Mr. Wheeler won a special election in March 2019 flipping his District to Republican after 50 years. His race will be hard with 17K more Democrats than Republicans in these counties.

Finally, let’s look at the three new Republican candidates on the General Election ballots and their opposition:

DistrictCountiesRepublicanDemocratIndependent
7Anderson, Franklin, Gallatin, Owen, WoodfordAdrienne SouthworthJoe GravissKen Carroll
21Bath, Estill, Jackson, Laurel, Menifee, PowellBrandon StormWalter Trebolo 
29Floyd, Harlan, Knott, LetcherJohnnie L. TurnerJohnny R. Turner 

You will find out more about these candidates in the KRLA PAC Voter Guide. We can say that Republican Johnnie Turner easily won his Republican primary in Eastern Kentucky and has previously served in the Ky House of Representatives.

Storm was a KRLA PAC recommended candidate in the Primary. His opponent, Trebolo, states that he is “very pro-life”.

Joe Graviss currently serves in the Ky House D-56 (Fayette (Part), Franklin (Part), Woodford), having defeated his Republican opponent in 2018 by a sizable margin, and has been endorsed by retiring Senator Julian Carroll. He voted in favor of the Born Alive (SB 9) Bill but we do not know his full outlook on pro-life issues.


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