After successive waves of GOP additions in the General Assembly, Democrats are seeking to re-establish themselves in the lower chamber.
Democrats have a long way to go to chip away at the GOP supermajority in both chambers, but with every House seat up for grabs in the 2022 election cycle Democrats are seeking to make waves, and at least in a few potential swing seats they’re excited about their chances.
As the state leans heavily towards the GOP in some cases it’s Republicans attempting to ouster other sitting Republicans in the legislature.
Here’s a look at those who have filed letters of intent to run in 2022 with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
- 18th Dist. – Jacob Clark, 39 of Leitchfield, has filed as a Republican for a rematch after getting demolished in the 2020 General Election against incumbent Rep. Samara Heavrin, R-Leitchfield. Clark ran in 2020 as a Libertarian garnering just 17 percent of the vote. Clark is running as a “true Constitutional conservative, according to his campaign website.”
- 33rd District – Democrats are excited for former civil engineer Kate Turner to challenge Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, in this targeted House District. There will be a geographic component to this race as Turner lives in the Oldham County portion of the district if the district remains the same through redistricting. Turner’s family has deep ties to the Louisville area, living in the Pee Wee Valley since the 1800s. Democrats have targeted Nemes in successive campaigns, but have been unsuccessful in giving the Republican the ouster despite the district being seen as a swing seat.
- 36th Dist – A Republican and a Democrat have filed their letters of intent to run in this eastern Jefferson County open seat currently held by Republican Rep. Jerry Miller who will not seek another term in office. Currently, Republican John Hodgson has filed for the seat. Hodgson served in the Bevin administration as an operations manager. He has been busy securing GOP endorsements. Activist, author, and minister Derek Penwell, D-Louisville, is seeking to make this a contest Penwell is another candidate Democrats are excited to see file for elected office. His Christian faith and support for the LGBTQ community offer an interesting counter to the religious right who often campaign on Christian values.
- 41st Dist. – Another open seat was created when Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, opted to challenge U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth for his Congressional seat. The 41st District is a heavily Democratic district, so far only Darryl Young of Louisville has filed his intent for the Democratic primary. Young ran in the Democratic primary for the Louisville Metro Council 4th District in 2020. He currently serves as the executive director of the Coalition Supporting Young Adults. Young previously worked as the programming manager at the Muhammad Ali Center.
- 56th Dist. – Democrats are trying to take back this district which currently includes Woodford Co. and part of Fayette and Franklin County. The Democratic Mayor of Midway Grayson Vandegrift will seek to replace Rep. Daniel Fister, R-Versailles.
- 57th Dist. – Frankfort Republican Gary Stratton has his sights on this long-held Democratic seat. Stratton is an associate professor of economics and finance at Kentucky State University in the Capital city of Frankfort. Stratton challenged House Minority Caucus Chair Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, for the seat in 2020 losing handily. Graham has held this seat since 2003 and has every intention of running for another term.
- 62nd Dist.– Lexington Democrat Michael Robinson will try and face-off against Republican Rep. Phillip Pratt of Georgetown in the 2022 General Election. Robinson is a minister at Total Grace Church in Lexington and specializes in Black Conscious Christianity. The 62nd District includes part of Fayette, part of Scott, and all of Owen County.
- 79th Dist. – Democratic Incumbent Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington has drawn a challenger to her left-flank. If Westrom, who has represented the partial Fayette County district since 1998, runs in 2022 she will face Justin Bramhall, an LGBTQ candidate, who previously filed in 2020. Bramhall withdrew from the primary in 2020, saying he thought Westrom would retire after her decades of service.
- 95th Dist. – Prestonsburg Republican David Pennington has filed for the far-eastern Kentucky House seat currently held by Rep. Ashley Tackett Lafferty, who has held the seat since 2018.