Hornback coasts in state senate race
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:00 AM
State Sen. Sara Beth Gregory was defeated by a fellow Republican on Tuesday as primary election voters in Kentucky set the lineup of candidates who will wage a district-by-district fight in the fall to determine whether power in the General Assembly remains divided.
In State Senate District 20, which includes Trimble and Carroll counties, incumbent Paul Hornback easily defeated challenger Tony McCurdy in the Republican primary. Hornback got 83 percent of the vote to McCurdy's 17 percent district wide.
In Carroll County, Hornback received 180 votes - or 75 percent - to McCurdy's 59 votes. In Trimble County, Hornback won with 222 votes to McCurdy's 46 votes.
With the GOP's majority in the state Senate secure, the focus in coming months will be whether Democrats retain control of the Kentucky House amid a strong push by Republicans to consolidate their legislative influence.
Although Gregory was denied another term in her southern Kentucky district, many legislative incumbents defeated challengers from within their own parties.
On the Senate side, Gregory lost a hard-fought campaign against challenger Max Wise in the 16th Senate District. Both are staunch conservatives who oppose abortion, same-sex marriage and the federal health care overhaul.
No Democrat filed for the seat in the solidly Republican district.
In the House, Democrats have seen their historic majority dwindle to a 54-46 advantage. The slim margin gives Republicans perhaps their best chance in decades to win a majority and set the agenda for the legislative chamber that gets first crack at crafting the state budget every two years.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo predicted Democrats will still be in charge of the House when lawmakers reconvene for their regular session in January.
State GOP Chairman Steve Robertson said both parties "are going to be focused like a laser beam" on Kentucky House races. "It's going to be a top priority for both of us."
But first voters had to choose nominees in multiple contested primaries for legislative seats. In most cases, both Republican and Democratic incumbents moved on to the general election.