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Republicans win back three legislative seats in special elections

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Republicans won three special legislative elections in Kentucky on Tuesday, re-securing seats that had been vacated in recent months, according to initial results.

The contests took place in districts in eastern, central and southern parts of the state. Kentucky had no regular elections this year.

In House District 89, Republican Timmy Truett, the principal of McKee Elementary School, defeated Mae Suramek, a Democrat and small business owner from Berea. The seat was vacated after Republican Rep. Robert Goforth resigned amid domestic violence allegations.

In House District 51, Republican Michael “Sarge” Pollock, an insurance advisor from Campbellsville, defeated former Democratic Judge-Executive Eddie Rogers. The seat was vacated after the death of Republican Rep. Bam Carney.

In Senate District 22, Republican Donald Douglas, a doctor from Lexington, defeated Helen Bukulmez, a Democratic immigration attorney from Paint Lick. The seat was vacated after the death of longtime state Sen. Tom Buford.

Republicans have huge majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. Once the new legislators take office, Republicans will have 75 out of 100 seats in the House and 30 out of 38 seats in the Senate.

The elections took place in heavily Republican districts, but Democrats outraised their opponents with hopes of flipping the seats.

House Speaker David Osborne said the results underscores Republican support in the state.

“The special election results in the 51st and 89th districts confirm that the people of Kentucky support the work we’ve done to create jobs, protect our most vulnerable, and preserve Kentucky values. However, they also prove that Kentuckians believe the legislature’s approach to the pandemic is the right fit for our Commonwealth. I’m looking forward to working with both candidates as they transition to duly-elected State Representatives,” Osborne wrote about Truett and Pollock.

Senate President Robert Stivers congratulated senator-elect Douglas in a statement.

“He will serve his district well and promote the conservative policies his constituents desire to see in Frankfort. Tonight’s win further solidifies what has been apparent for years — Kentuckians want a Republican majority to continue to make laws for our Commonwealth,” Stivers wrote.

These election results are unofficial. The State Board of Elections will meet to certify them later this month.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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