‘Liberty’ Candidates Who Tried to Impeach Beshear Unsuccessful; Rep. Burch Loses House Dem. Primary

Tuesday’s primary marked the end of a nearly 50-year career in Frankfort for one Louisville House member, and showed a continued split between the so-called liberty faction of the Republican Party in the northern part of the state.

The longest serving member of the Kentucky House of Representatives 91-year old Tom Burch, D-Louisville, lost his seat in a close contest to Daniel Grossberg by 121 votes, according to an unofficial tally from the State Board of Elections. Grossberg will take over the seat that Burch has held the seat since the early 1970’s, joining a minority caucus unable to stop a Republican supermajority. The new Representative-Elect knocked on over 5,000 doors in the district over more than two-years of campaigning for the seat.

In northern Kentucky, three House Republican committee chairman were defeated in Tuesday’s election.

Marianne Proctor, a realtor and former speech pathologist, defeated longtime incumbent Rep. Santoro, of Union. Proctor focused on being a political outsider frustrated with politics and taxation. Proctor finished with 131 more votes than Santoro in the low voter turnout election, according to unofficial stats from the State Board of Elections. Rep. Ed Massey lost his primary race to “constitutional conservative” Steve Rawlings, an attorney and author, despite being heavily outspent in the race. Rawlings won with 2,695 votes to Massey’s 1,227. Erlanger city councilman Steven Doan of bested Chair Adam Koenig in their primary election by just 200 votes. Doan offered some of the most brutal campaign mailers of the season in this primary election. According to unofficial results, Doan finished with 1,369 to Koenig’s 1,179 votes.

Massey is chair of the House Judiciary committee, Santoro chair of the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation and Koenig chair of the Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee.

4th District incumbent Congressman Thomas Massie had a big night in the GOP primary, beating Claire Wirth with 50,301 votes to her 10,521 votes. Massie sought to encourage other liberty candidates in state House races.

In the open seat primary to replace outgoing Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, in the 20th Senate District, Gex “Jay” Williams routed Republican activist and Vice Chair of the Boone Co. Republican Party Phyllis Sparks, Calen Studler, the chair of the Franklin Co. GOP, and Mike Templeman, a Republican and retired coal executive from Frankfort, Kentucky. The district was shifted during the redistricting process.

However, none of the several “liberty” candidates who sought to impeach Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, for COVID protection orders won on Tuesday. In the Lexington area 22nd District, Sen. Donald Douglas defended his seat against Andrew Cooperrider, in one of the closest watched elections. Cooperrider is a coffee-shop owner that refused to close for in-person dining early in the pandemic, he lost by more than 1,200 votes in the election despite spending big and campaigning for a year for the seat.

“While some of these fringe candidates won on Tuesday, those who spewed hateful rhetoric at Gov. Beshear and filed the impeachment petition against him lost,” said Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge. “Even in a Republican primary, where many of the voters agree with Gov. Beshear’s actions to protect Kentuckians, personally attacking a popular Governor was a losing strategy.”