McConnell, GOP congressmen win Kentucky primaries

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, December 10, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Presidential primaries topped the ballot Tuesday, but there were several others races being decided in Kentucky including party nominations for a U.S. Senate seat. Other contested races on the ballot include five U.S. House seats, 11 contested legislative primaries and a Kentucky Supreme Court seat. With thousands of absentee ballots uncounted, many races remained undecided. Here’s a summary of the state offices and candidates on the ballot:

U.S. President:

President Donald Trump won Kentucky’s Republican presidential primary, and Joe Biden won the Democratic presidential primary in Kentucky. Both Biden and Trump have secured their respective parties’ nominations, Biden earlier this month and Trump in March.

U.S. Senate:

Republicans: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell easily won his party’s nomination in Kentucky in his bid for a seventh term. McConnell has positioned himself as President Donald Trump’s most crucial congressional ally and worked closely with Trump on cutting taxes and putting conservatives on the federal bench. He faced only token opposition from a group of Republican challengers in the Bluegrass State’s primary Tuesday. In an unprecedented move, the state allowed widespread absentee mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic. It might be days before McConnell knows who his Democratic opponent will be in the fall.

Democrats: Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath of Lexington, who narrowly lost a U.S. House race in 2018, has raised the most money to challenge McConnell in the fall, but progressive state Rep. Charles Booker of Louisville has been gaining momentum recently with several key endorsements. Retired Marine Mike Broihier of Stanford is among eight other Democrats who filed to run.

U.S. House:

2nd District: Incumbent Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green easily secured the Republican nomination Tuesday night, defeating Kathleen Free of Brandenburg for Kentucky’s conservative 2nd District.

The self-described “pro-life, pro-gun, pro-Trump” candidate, has represented the 2nd District since 2008. In November, Guthrie will face Democratic nominee Hank Linderman, a musician, for the second time. In 2018, Guthrie beat Linderman with over two-thirds of the vote.

3rd District: Three Republicans are vying for the chance to challenge Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth in the Louisville-area district. They are retired autoworker Mike Craven, entreprenuer and community activist Waymen Eddings and business owner Rhonda Palazzo.

4th District: Rep. Thomas Massie won another Republican nomination for Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, despite drawing criticism from President Donald Trump and accusations of racism by his opponent, attorney Todd McMurtry.

The primary was the congressman’s first competitive primary since his first bid for the office in 2012.

President Trump labeled Massie “a disaster for America” when the congressman held up a vote on a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package in March. Massie, who is known as “Mr. No” for habitually voting down both bipartisan and conservative legislation, is likely to win the heavily conservative district in November. He won two-thirds of the vote in 2018.

5th District: Hal Rogers won the Republican nomination Tuesday night for Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District. He will compete against Democrat Matthew Ryan Best in November.

Rogers defeated Gerardo Serrano, a firearms enthusiast from Jackson County, for the second time, after previously facing off against him in 2018. Rogers is Kentucky’s longest-serving Republican in Congress, having represented the state’s 5th District since 1981. He currently serves as the dean of Kentucky’s congressional delegation.

6th District: Andy Barr, who recently dealt with the unexpected death of his wife, secured the Republican nomination Tuesday night for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District in his fifth bid for the seat. Barr will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Josh Hicks and Daniel Kemph in November in a district known to swing both red and blue. Barr narrowly held off Democrat and former fighter pilot Amy McGrath in 2018 by 3.2 points.

State Legislature:

Nine House members are facing primary challenges, including Republican House Speaker David Osborne. Teacher Tiffany Dunn, who helped lead protests at the Capitol when former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin angered educators as he tried to revamp the public pension system, is running for the 54th District seat. Dunn, of Crestwood, says she is uniquely qualified to protect and improve public schools and says conservatism, common sense and civility are her core values.

Others facing challenges in the primary include:

— 26th District: Republican Rep. Russell Webber is challenged by businessman Paul Ham of Shepherdsville. Webber is chairman of the House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee.

— 28th District: Longtime Democratic Rep. Charles Miller is challenged by Louisville native Ramona Jade Thomas, a working-class transgender woman.

— 30th District: Longtime Democratic Rep. Tom Burch is challenged by Daniel Grossberg, a Realtor who serves on the Jefferson County Commission and is president of the Louisville Young Democrats.

— 40th District: Freshman Democratic Rep. Nima Kulkarni is challenged by former lawmaker Dennis Horlander, who held the seat in Louisville for 21 years before Kulkarni defeated him in 2018.

— 50th District: Republican Rep. Chad McCoy is challenged by Donald Thrasher, who serves as chairman for the Republican Party of Nelson County. McCoy is a member of House GOP leadership as majority whip.

— 52nd District: Longtime Republican Rep. Ken Upchurch is challenged by Monticello attorney Rhett Ramsey. Upchurch is House Transportation Committee chairman.

— 71st District: Freshman Republican Rep. Travis Brenda is challenged by Josh Bray, the city administrator of Mount Vernon. Brenda upset powerful state Rep. Jonathan Shell in the 2018 GOP primary.

— 82nd District: Republican Rep. Regina Huff is challenged again by Corbin teacher Matt Anderson. Huff is House Education Committee chairwoman and defeated Anderson in the 2018 primary.

Two senators face primary challenges. In the 15th District, Republican Sen. Rick Girdler is challenged by former pastor Larry Sears Nichols of Eubank. In the 21st District, longtime Republican Sen. Albert Robinson has two challengers — attorney Kay Hensley and attorney Brandon Jackson Storm, both of London.

Supreme Court:

Three candidates are running for the 7th District seat in eastern Kentucky: incumbent Justice Sam Wright, Democratic state Rep. Chris Harris and 20th Circuit Court Judge Robert B. Conley. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election.

Voting:

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, all state registered voters were deemed eligible to submit an absentee ballot, which had to be postmarked by June 23. Some counties have said they won’t post results on election night but will announce them by June 30. A limited number of polling places were open for voters who wanted to cast ballots early or on Election Day.

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