Top Kentucky House Primary Races to Watch

As the Kentucky House maps are being contested by Democrats in Court the field has been set, and filing day has come to a close. There are several hotly contested races this primary season on both sides of the aisle, including several open-seat elections and multiple incumbents facing off.

Here is the current Kentucky Fried Politics list of top House primary races to watch in 2022.

2nd District House REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: State Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield, may have caused this Republican battle to represent the West Kentucky district. Heath announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination for Agriculture Commissioner in the 2023 race last summer, at the same time he announced his intention to seek re-election to the 2nd House District. Republican Kimberly Holloway, a professional counselor and social services director at a retirement center, has entered the race with a Libertarian bend to her politics, according to a local interview. Holloway is already targeting Heath for his decision to seek re-election and a statewide race in 2023. Both candidates live in Mayfield, Kentucky.

4th District House REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: Hopkins County will stand alone in the newly drawn House District. Three Republicans are vying for the nomination. First-time candidate Bobby Girvin, of Madisonville, faces retired Madisonville Police Chief Wade Williams, and U.S. Army veteran David Sharp, who dropped out of a challenge against Congressman James Comer, in the GOP primary race. On the Democratic side, Hopkins County Attorney Byron Hobgood has also filed for the seat, ensuring a General Election contest.

8th District House REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: Rep. Walker Thomas, R-Hopkinsville, will be defending his seat against current Caldwell County Judge-Executive Larry Curling, R-Princeton. Curling recently spoke to local radio station WHOP about the race. Democratic candidate Pam Dossett, who ran against Thomas in 2020 is again seeking the seat in the General Election.

12th District House REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: Two incumbent lawmakers will face each other in this newly formed district which includes Crittenden, Union, Webster, and McLean County. Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, in Crittenden County, has been in the legislature since 2014 and he will face Democrat turned Republican Rep. Jim Gooch, of Providence, Kentucky, in Webster County. Gooch has been in the House of Representatives since 1996, he switch party allegiance in late 2015, joining the GOP in their quest to control the state House. Gooch currently represents part of Hopkins and Daviess and all of Webster and McLean County. Bechler currently represents Cladwell, part of Christian, Crittenden, and Livingston County.

18th District House REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: One of the youngest legislators in the General Assembly, will have a primary challenger from the far right of the party. Rep. Samara Heavrin, R-Leitchfield, has been in the legislature since winning a special election in 2019 to replace Rep. Tim Moore. In this election she will face Jacob Clark, an inventor and an ordained Baptist minister who has held services at the Grayson County Detention Center for the last three years. According to LEO Weekly Clark “posted “A warning for Governor Andy Beshear” video on his Facebook, saying that “God may strike” Beshear “down” for his attempts to stop churchgoers from attending in-person services at the height of the pandemic.”

24th District House REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: Incumbent Rep. Brandon Reed, R-Hodgenville, has two GOP candidates challenging him for the seat he has held since 2018. Republican Courtney Gilbert, Of Hodgenville, filed for the seat on the day of the filing deadline. Gilbert is the sister of state Sen. Adrienne (Gilbert) Southworth, R-Lawrenceburg. She served as the youth chair for the LaRue County Republican Party from 2008 to 2017, according to the LaRue County Herald. Robert Hickman, of Hardyville, Kentucky, in Hart Co., is a Republican newcomer and self-proclaimed outsider. Hickman is a former truck driver and construction worker who previously lived in Michigan and the “Atlantic area,” where he lived for 25 years and worked in commercial real estate and management.

25th House District REPUBLICAN PRIMARY – With the retirement of Republican Rep. Jim DuPlessis at the end of his current term the 25th House District is an open seat. There are three Republicans filed for the race. Elizabethtown Republican Bill Bennett filed for the race, he previously served two terms on the Elizabethtown City Council, according to the News-Enterprise, he was fired by JCPS in January after an altercation with a student. Steve Bratcher, a former constable and current director of technical training at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, and Stan Routt, both of Elizabethtown, have also filed for the May 17 primary.

30th District House DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: The longest-serving House member in the history of the Kentucky General Assembly again faces a primary challenge in this Louisville district. Rep. Tom Burch, who will be 91-years old in July, was first elected to a single term in 1972 serving until 1975 and then returning to Frankfort in 1979 where he has comfortably stayed since that time. Burch will face Daniel Grossberg, who ran against Burch in 2020, and Neal Turpin, who has served as an associate city planner in Clarksville, Indiana. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Louisville where he teaches Public Administration and Policy in the Department of Political Science. Turpin campaigned for Burch in the 2020 election, even appearing in videos endorsing the incumbent.

36th District House REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: This Louisville Republican primary is an open seat election created through the retirement of Rep. Jerry Miller. Republican John Hodgson, who served in the Bevin administration as an operations manager, has filed for the primary and spent the summer of 2021 securing GOP endorsements. David Hoswer has also put his hat in the ring for the GOP primary, he is a former Fire Chief of the Lydon Fire Department. Richard Crawford also filed for the seat in January.

41st District House DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: Two incumbent Democrats face off in this Louisville primary caused by redistricting. Longtime Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, who was first elected in 1994, will face Rep. Josie Raymond, who was first elected in 2020.

43rd District House DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: Incumbent Rep. Pam Stevenson, of Louisville, will have to defend her left flank this election season. Robert LeVertis Ball has filed for the seat, Ball is a community activist and public school teacher, who is seeking to unseat the first-term lawmaker.

50th District House REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: House Majority Whip Chad McCoy will face Nelson County Republican Chairman Trey Bradley. Bradley told the Kentucky Standard he initially filed for the seat because McCoy had not filed, after a discussion he decided to stay in the race. U.S. Air Force veteran Candy Hawks-Massaroni is also seeking the seat, running to the right of McCoy calling him out of touch with the average conservative of Nelson County.

55th District House REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: Rep. Kim King, R-Harrodsburg, will face a challenger from the far right-wing of the party. Tony Wheatley, of Salvisa, was called an insurrectionist and accused by Gov. Andy Beshear as an organizer of two armed rallies in 2020 at the state Capitol, including a rally that hanged Beshear in effigy. Wheatley tells Kentucky Fried Politics he was not the organizer of the rally, and he cut down the hanging effigy of Beshear. “I actually cut it down because it was in bad taste,” wrote KFP. “Just because the governor said it doesn’t make it truth.”

79th District House DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: This could be one of the more interesting Democratic primary races this year as longtime incumbent Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington faces two challengers, including Democratic consultant Chad Aull a Democratic Party operative, and 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.

85th House District REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: First-term Republican Rep. Shane Baker, of Somerset, replaced longtime Rep. Tommy Turner in the legislature and after only two years of service he is being targeted by London City Councilman Daniel Carmack.