On Tuesday, Kentucky Democrats had reason to celebrate as Linda Belcher, a former state legislator who lost her seat in the 2016 Trump landslide in her state, was able to reclaim the Bullit County district.
Senator Rand Paul easily won the district during the same election, having received 64 percent of the vote.
The special election held in House District 49 was necessary because Dan Johnson, who was also a local pastor killed himself after having been accused of sexually abusing a member of his congregation. Johnson’s widow, Rebecca Johnson, announced that she intended to run to replace her husband within 24 hours after his death.
Belcher’s election is just one more example of the blue wave that has been slowly sweeping the nation since Trump was elected in 2016. The latest Democratic victory over a Republican in special election circumstances now stands at 18. So far this year alone, Democrats had won Republican-held legislative seats in Missouri, Wisconsin, and Florida, prior to Kentucky.
The Kentucky district is the 18th formerly Republican-held district to fall into Democratic hands in a special election since Trump won in 2016, a growing trend Democrats see as proof of their party’s momentum heading into the midterms. In 2018 alone, Democrats have won Republican-held state legislative districts in Missouri, Wisconsin and Florida.
As expected the spokesman for the Kentucky Republican Party assured folks that this win means very little to the big picture. Tres Watson said:
“Tonight’s special election has been anything but normal from the beginning and offers little resemblance to what we should expect in November. Turnout was low, even by special election standards, and the impact of recent events hung over the race, clouding the outcome.”
Somehow I think that if the Republicans had ended up victorious, Watson’s praise wouldn’t have been tempered.