Kentucky primary election results are in. Conclusions after voting

The primary elections decided Tuesday night in Kentucky have set the table for the November general election.

While no U.S. congressional incumbents faced major challenges, many state House and Senate races presented a closer look at key trends to watch in the coming months, with higher-than-average turnout this fall likely with a presidential race on the ballot. .

From the races in Louisville to other notable victories across the Commonwealth, here are some takeaways to keep in mind as the election season moves into the fall:

Experience trumps youth…sometimes

Two candidates who ran on experience won commanding victories over rivals who called their campaigns opportunities for voters to send new voices to Frankfort.

Mary Lou Marzian will represent Democrats this fall in the race for House District 41 after earning 71% of the vote over challenger Rick Adams. Meanwhile, veteran Senate Minority Leader Gerald Neal will retain his seat after winning 55% of the vote against Attica Scott, a former representative who argued that Senate District 33 needed a new face in office.

Adams, a 32-year-old attorney for the Kentucky Democratic Party who has also done some legal work for The Courier Journal, had argued that voters “won’t get the change we need with old ideas from past glory days.” Marzian, who ran on the campaign slogan “experience matters,” previously served in Frankfort from 1994 to 2022, when she stepped aside after redistricting pitted her against another sitting state representative.

Marzian will face Republican candidate Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell, who ran unopposed in the primary, in the general election.

Scott is slightly older than Adams, 52, but ran a vigorous campaign against Neal, who has been in the Senate since 1989 and won a 10th term in Frankfort. She had said the West Louisville district needed a “different way of leading” at the Capitol, though Neal argued that its bipartisan relationships are necessary when an opposition party controls the legislature.

No Republicans are seeking the seat, paving the way for Neal to win again in November.

Still, not all older candidates were so lucky. C. Ed Massey, a former Republican state representative in Boone County who had touted his experience on the campaign trail, was defeated by challenger TJ Roberts, 26, who ran to his right and took 72% of the vote.

Give me freedom

It was a big night for the “Liberty” wing of the Republican Party. Those candidates, who generally lean more right than Republican centrists, were successful in several races.

Roberts triumphed in her race: she celebrated the victory at a ballot party of U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, who also won his primary, along with other like-minded candidates including incumbent Reps. Savannah Maddox, Felicia Rabourn and Steven Doan. Each member of that trio also won their primaries.

There were other victories too. Most notable may be the victory of Thomas Jefferson, a Jessamine County Republican who has never held state office, over incumbent Rep. Killian Timoney, a Republican representative known for crossing party lines on some votes. Jefferson, who raised just over $14,000 to Timoney’s nearly $30,000, will face Lexington Democrat Adam Moore in November.

Still, in a state with 100 seats in the House of Representatives along with several seats in the Senate, some losses were inevitable. Kelcey Rock, for example, was unable to eke out a victory over incumbent Rep. Michael Meredith, an Edmonson County Republican who chairs the House Banking and Insurance Committee.

At least 10 candidates officially endorsed by the Liberty Caucus scored victories in Tuesday’s election. Several others not included in this count were unopposed.

A presidential race “without compromises”

While US President Joe Biden handily won the Democratic nomination in Kentucky, the percentage of those voting “uncommitted” skyrocketed compared to the last Commonwealth presidential primaries. The non-committal parade was in line with a national trend of voters using this year’s election cycle as a means of protest amid Israel’s war in Gaza.

In the 2020 primary election, 10.8% of Democratic primary voters selected the “uncommitted” option. That figure jumped to 17.8% this year, as Biden faces criticism from some Democrats across the United States for not doing more to stop the conflict in the Middle East. By comparison, only 3.5% of Republican voters in Kentucky chose “uncommitted,” as likely nominee Donald Trump garnered about 85% of the vote.

While Biden still secured the Democratic nomination for Kentucky with more than 71%, some pro-Palestinian political organizers believe that voters’ use of the uncommitted voting option may send a key signal to the current administration, as he previously said the executive director of Our Revolution, Joseph Geevarghese. TODAY.

“For Democrats to defeat Donald Trump in November, Biden must realign with his voter base and listen to the diverse and progressive voices urging him to change course in Gaza,” Geevarghese said. “And until he does, we will continue to show up, speak out, and activate Our Revolution’s 8 million grassroots members across the country to use their vote to demand change.”

Primary elections are no big deal for Kentucky congressmen

There was some drama in the elections for the state House and Senate. There were none in the races for Kentucky’s six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Three incumbents ran unopposed in the primaries. Meanwhile, three others who were on the ballot scored victories: Louisville Democrat Morgan McGarvey won 84% of the vote, while Northern Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie won 76% of the vote in his race and Southeast Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers finished with about 82.% in his race.

The results are not surprising. McGarvey has been in office for only one term, but he did not face much opposition from his two rivals, while Kentucky’s five other U.S. representatives have been in office for more than a decade and are wealthy in their districts. It is likely that all of them will enter the November elections as big favorites against their opposition.

Always check your work

State Rep. Nima Kulkarni, D-Louisville, won her primary against a relatively unknown challenger, William Zeitz, and is currently not running against a Republican in November. However, whether she will be eligible to take office is another story.

Kulkarni’s eligibility is currently in the hands of the state Supreme Court, which will consider a lawsuit that claimed he should not be on the ballot because of an issue with his nomination paperwork. That chamber will hear arguments in the case next month as it reviews an appeals court ruling from early May that would have removed it from the ballot.

Kulkarni is not the only one who has run into similar problems in recent years. Kimberly Holloway, a Republican running in House District 2, was disqualified ahead of a run for office in 2022 because of a similar issue. She will run again in 2024 and scored a victory in Tuesday’s primary over incumbent Rep. Richard Heath.

Kulkarni’s case will be heard in the state Supreme Court on June 6.

Contact The Courier Journal’s political team at [email protected].