A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

It will be a Barr-McGrath match-up in November; Linda Gorton prevails as Lexington mayor


Staff Report

In one of the most-watched primary election races Tuesday, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray lost by a surprising margin to political newcomer and retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Amy McGrath in the Democratic primary for the 6th Congressional District.

Republican incumbent Andy Barr won handily over challenger Chuck Eddy and will face McGrath in the fall.

Gray conceded the race to McGrath around 8 p.m. Though it was a six-candidate field, McGrath and Gray were the only real contenders as the votes were counted.

McGrath, who grew up in NKY and is the mother of three, sent the following message to her supporters:

“Today we sent Washington a message. By standing up for American values, inviting all our neighbors to the table, and making sure the issues most important to Kentuckians are heard, we’ve proven that we can defy the skeptics and choose our own path forward.

“That path should be for an economy that doesn’t leave hard-working Americans behind, for healthcare as a right that should be improved on, not thrown away, and where we can work across the political divide on real solutions to real problems for everyday people from Lawrenceburg to Lexington to Flemingsburg.

“Tonight we take a moment to celebrate this hard-won victory against all odds — but only for a moment. When we wake up tomorrow, we’ll get back at work with our eyes on November.”

In another closely watched race, a Rockcastle County teacher unseated House Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell by a narrow margin. R. Travis Brenda, 43, won in his first bid for public office.

In Fayette County, Linda Gorton won 41.72% of the vote in a crowded field for mayor. Ronnie Bastin and former mayor Teresa Isaac came in second and third, respectively, in the seven candidates.

Steve Kay, Chuck Ellinger, and Richard Maloney were the three winners in the Urban County Council At-Large race and Sandy Shafer was the easy winner in the council’s District 11 race.

See complete Fayette County results here.

Voter turnout was in the 20s and didn’t get near the 30% Secretary of State Alison Grimes had projected in the days ramping up to election day.

See the complete results of all Kentucky Primary races at the Secretary of State’s website.

In other state races of note, Vickie Yates B. Glisson won the Republican primary for U.S. Representative, 3rd Congressional District. Glisson resigned as Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to run in the primary. She will face Democrat John Yarmuth in the fall.

Veteran incumbent Harold ‘Hal’ Rogers easily staved off primary opponent Gerardo Serrano in the 5th Congressional District Republican race.

A highly contentious race in the Republican primary in Northern Kentucky for the Commonwealth’s Attorney 54th Judicial Circuit unseated incumbent Linda Tally Smith. Challenger Louis Kelley won that race by nearly twice the votes.

Questions were raised about Tally Smith’s handling of a murder trial involving David Dooley, who has been granted a new trial. During hearings, information came out about a sordid affair with her chief investigator on the case and the question of withheld evidence.


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