2012 elections review: One incumbent toppled in Kentucky primaries

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May 23, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

Besides picking presidential nominations, Kentucky voters selected primary winners in congressional and state legislative primaries. Here's a recap of what happened.

Contested Primaries in Kentucky -- May 22, 2012
U.S. House
(6 seats)
State Legislature
(119 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 4 (66.66%) 15 (12.61%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 2 (33.33%) 24 (20.17%)


United States House of Representatives elections in Kentucky, 2012

All five of Kentucky incumbents running for re-election held onto their seats in the yesterday's primary elections.[1] Four of the five incumbents running for re-election in the primaries ran unopposed, with only 3rd District Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth faced competition from a challenger.

In the 1st District Democratic primary, candidate Charles Kendall Hatchett defeated James Buckmaster to advance on the Democratic ticket to the general election. Hatchett will face Republican incumbent Ed Whitfield on November 6. Buckmaster previously ran in 2010 on the Democratic ticket for U.S. Senate. He was defeated by Jack Conway in the Democratic primary.[2]

Republican incumbent Brett Guthrie ran unopposed in the Republican primary in the 2nd District. He will face Democratic challenger David Lynn Williams in the general election on November 6. Williams also ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

3rd District incumbent John Yarmuth defeated challenger Burrel Charles Farnsley in the Democratic primary and will take on Republican candidate Brooks Wicker in the general election. Wicker ran unopposed in the primary. He ran previously for the 3rd District seat in 2010, but was defeated by Todd Lally in the Republican primary.[3]

The open seat in the 4th District caused by the retirement of Republican incumbent Geoff Davis led to a primary battle on the Republican ticket. Thomas Massie defeated six competitors, Gary Moore, Alecia Webb-Edgington, Tom Wurtz, Brian Oerther, Marc Carey, and Walter Christian Schumm, to advance to the general election. On the Democratic ticket, candidate Bill Adkins defeated Greg Frank for the nomination.

Kentucky's 5th District Democratic primary was a close race between candidates Kenneth Stepp and Michael Ackerman. In the end, Stepp defeated Ackerman to advance to the general election to take on Republican incumbent Hal Rogers. Rogers ran unopposed in the primary.

In the 6th District, Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler will face Republican candidate Andy Barr in the general election. Barr defeated Curtis Kenimer and Patrick J. Kelley II in the Republican primary. Barr was narrowly defeated by Chandler by less than 1 percent in the general election in 2010.[4] The two will face off again for the 6th District seat.

Members of the U.S. House from Kentucky -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 2 1
     Republican Party 4 5
Total 6 6

State legislature

Kentucky's legislative races saw few surprises as only one incumbent lost his seat.[5] This is a similar result as the 2010 primaries, when two incumbents were defeated.


Three Republican senators faced a primary challenge, all from tea party supporters. In each case, the incumbent easily won.[6] These include:

Kentucky State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 14 14
     Republican Party 21 22
     Independent 1 1
     Vacancy 2 1
Total 38 38


Over in the House one incumbent, Democrat Wade Hurt, was defeated in the primary. Challenger Jeffery M. Donohue took the race by a wide margin in what was a rematch of the 2010 election. At that time Hurt was a Republican and was set to face the Democratic candidate Donohue in the general election. However, a judge ruled Donohue ineligble for failing to acquire the necessary number of signatures. While his name appeared on the ballot, his votes did not ultimately count.[8] Hurt went on to win the election unopposed, after which he switched his party affiliation to Democratic, saying it would allow him to better serve his district.[6] Other noteworthy races include:

Kentucky House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 58 55
     Republican Party 41 45
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 100 100

See also