Democrats Flip Kentucky House Seat in Race Against Lawmaker's Widow

Democrats Flip Kentucky House Seat in Race Against Lawmaker's Widow

Belcher is a retired teacher and a former state legislator who held the seat for six years previously.

The wife of a Kentucky lawmaker who killed himself a year ago after facing sexual assault allegations has lost a special election to fulfill the remainder of her husband's term.

Democrat Linda Belcher was just pronounced the victor of the special election in Kentucky's House District 49, a seat that Donald Trump carried by a 72-23 margin in 2016 and that went 66-33 for Mitt Romney in 2012. He committed suicide a day after he denied the allegations.

But the claims were supported by an on-the-record interview from the victim, plus pages of police documents that were published by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. Belcher represented the district from 2009 to 2012 and again from 2014 to January 2017, after being defeated in the 2016 election by a narrow margin. Democrat Linda Belcher just reclaimed that district's seat after being elected with a final tally of 68-32. In 2016, as Donald Trump won Kentucky by the biggest margin of any Republican presidential candidate in history, Belcher lost by just 156 votes to Republican pastor Dan Johnson. It is the third time voters have elected Belcher, who was first elected in 2008 when she replaced her husband on the ballot after he was killed in a auto wreck.

"I've heard from and about people all day long saying they went to vote for me at the correct polling place and were refused the opportunity to vote", Johnson said in a news release.

The Kentucky district is the 18th formerly Republican-held district to fall into Democratic hands in a special election since Trump won the election.

Following Belcher's win, Democrats hold 37 seats and a second special election will be held next week to fill one remaining vacant seat. The party purchased television ads and sent high-profile Kentucky Democrats to the district to campaign and canvas for Belcher, including Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Johnson has already filed to run in the May GOP primary. "It's like we're in a third world country".

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