Kentucky Democrat wins state House seat in Trump stronghold

Democrats claimed a landslide victory in a special election for a Kentucky House district that voted heavily for Dona...

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 3:05 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2018 3:05 PM

Democrats claimed a landslide victory in a special election for a Kentucky House district that voted heavily for Donald Trump in 2016.

Linda Belcher, a Democrat, won the special election for Kentucky's House District 49 on Tuesday with 3,386 votes. Rebecca Johnson, a Republican, received 1,561 votes, according to official results from Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Johnson is the widow of Republican state Rep. Dan Johnson, who narrowly defeated Belcher, then an incumbent, in 2016 and committed suicide late last year. The lawmaker had been accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2013 in a report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. He committed suicide a day after he denied the allegations.

Trump won the district with 72% of the vote in 2016. Belcher's win is the 37th Republican-held state legislative seat that Democrats have picked off since Trump took office.

Belcher will serve out the rest of Johnson's term, which ends in December.

According to the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Johnson's campaign manager claimed their election loss was a result of voter fraud. In a statement, Johnson said she had heard about people being turned away from the polls, adding that "it's like we are in a third world country."

Kentucky's Board of Elections will certify the results of the special election on February 27.

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