Democrat flips Kentucky House seat in Republican territory

By Susan McFarland  |  Feb. 21, 2018 at 9:03 AM
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Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Kentucky Democratic candidate Linda Belcher will fill the seat in the state's House of Representatives that opened last year by the suicide of lawmaker Dan Johnson.

Tuesday night, Belcher defeated Johnson's widow Rebecca in Bullitt County -- which voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump in 2016. She won more than 68 percent of the vote in the special election.

Belcher, former school teacher and principal, also entered politics after her husband died in a 2008 car accident. Linda Belcher served in the legislature from 2008 to 2012 and 2014 to 2016 before losing to Dan Johnson.

Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Ben Self said the win is an indication of the wave of excitement felt by Democrats in the state.

"We just won this district by more than 30 percentage points, where Trump won 73 percent of the vote," Self said. "This just shows that the entire House is up for grabs this fall."

Johnson had suggested Belcher was involved with liberal organizations to destroy her husband, a charge Belcher denies. Johnson also alleged voting fraud.

Belcher's win is the 37th Democratic victory for a Republican-held state legislative seat in the past year. Last week, Florida Democrat Margaret Good upset a Republican favorite in a special election.

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