4 Things You May Have Missed From A Wild Kentucky Primary Night

May 18, 2022 at 6:09 pm
Kentucky primary

Louisville was understandably mostly focused last night on who won our mayoral race and Congressional race. But, there were big races outside of the city, smaller races in Louisville and even some surprising performances from those who lost that deserve our attention, too.

Here are some important takeaways that you may have missed.

Protester’s Attorneys Move On In Judge Races

At least three attorneys who were covered by the media for representing protesters who were arrested during the Breonna Taylor uprising will continue on to the general election in November. (The top two vote getters in judicial races run in the fall.)

One, Tracy Davis, faces Mary Shaw, the judge who signed the search warrant to Taylor’s home that ended in her death. 

Davis came in second to Shaw, but the race was close — separated by less than one percentage point — with the final breakdown being 37,844 votes for Shaw and 37,706 votes for Davis. 

Despite Shaw’s connection to Taylor’s death, she was still rated as highly qualified by 42.4% of the attorneys who took the Louisville Bar Association’s poll on 2022 judicial candidates. Only 8.4% of those surveyed said Davis was highly qualified, although 45.6% simply said they didn’t have enough information to say.

Ted Shouse, who was one of the organizing lawyers who united other attorneys to represent protesters pro bono, was the clear frontrunner in his race, garnering 41% of the vote, with his second-place opponent Melissa Bellows receiving 34%.

Karen Faulkner, who worked with the Bail Project to help protesters, also handily came out on top in her race, garnering 47% of the vote. Jessica Stone will also be moving on in the race with 31% of the vote.

The Liberty Candidates Could Shake Up The General Assembly 

The newest sprout planted from the seeds of the tea party, the right-wing “liberty” branch of the Kentucky GOP, suffered a major loss in a Senate race during Tuesday’s primaries, but their members also knocked off three incumbent reps in the House in Northern Kentucky.

Those incumbents, Reps. Sal Santoro, Ed Massey and Adam Koenig, lost to liberty affiliates Marianne Proctor, Steve Rawlings and Steven Doan, respectively. 

The liberty candidates had more scattered results in their Senate primary races. One of the group’s most well-known candidates, Andrew Cooperrider – a Lexington coffee shop owner who openly broke COVID restrictions and petitioned to impeach Beshear — was defeated, losing to Sen. Donald Douglas in the District 22 Republican race.

In District 24, incumbent Shelley Frommeyer also beat liberty candidate Jessica Neal by about three percentage points. 

But, liberty candidates Lindsey Tichenor (District 6) and Gex "Jay" Williams (District 20) both won their Senate primaries by wide margins. 

Al Cross, a political columnist and the director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, said that if the liberty candidates are elected to the General Assembly, it could change the balance between the more moderate conservative Republicans and the members that have more hardline right-wing stances.

“Any additional votes on that side of the scale could move the party caucus into a more extreme direction,” Cross said.  

“There’s going to be increasing pressure from people within the House and Senate caucuses from people who want the party to be more Trumpist and populist,” he continued.

DSA Comes Close To Metro Council… Again

Louisville’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America came close to securing the Democratic nomination for a Metro Council seat race for the second time in two years.

Tyler Lamon, a self-described community organizer, lost by 51 votes in his race against four other candidates including winner Jennifer Chappell. They were vying for the District 15 Metro council seat, which will be left empty by Democrat Kevin Triplett’s departure.

In 2020, DSA member and candidate Ryan Fenwick almost won in his Democratic primary, losing to District 10 councilperson Pat Mulvihill by just over one percentage point.

Lamon ran on what he called a Green New Deal for Louisville, including private ownership of LG&E; universal pre-k; affordable housing; and holding cops accountable.

Robert Bell, another DSA-associated candidate, did not come as close as Lamon in his race for the Democratic nomination to District 43’s House of Representatives seat, but he did secure 46.2% of the vote. His opponent, Rep. Pamela Stevens is set to keep her seat as no Republicans are running in her district.

Even Though She Lost, Shameka Parrish-Wright Had A Solid Turnout 

Craig Greenberg cruised to victory in Louisville’s Democratic Party mayoral primary, securing 41.3% of the votes with 35,341. It wasn’t a surprise, as the high-profile and deep-pocketed candidate pulled in $1.4 million, giving him the ability to spend on an abundance of TV and streaming ads that were ubiquitous in the weeks leading up to the election. 

But with a war chest of only $71,000, Shameka Parrish-Wright finished in second, with 18,493 votes, putting her around 5,000 in front of longtime Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk David Nicholson, who pulled in $626,000 dollars. 

Parrish-Wright, a longtime activist, told LEO in an interview before the election that, “There is no issue, that any mayoral candidate is running on that I haven’t been impacted by, that I haven’t lived and I haven’t fought for on a social justice level.”

According to a map made by data analyst Robert Kahne, Parrish-Wright did extremely well in the neighborhoods that are adjacent to the South and East sides of downtown and she also thrived in some pockets of the West End and throughout other parts of the city.

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