FRANKFORT — Despite more than $175,000 spent by an outside Republican group, Democrat James Kay rode a strong showing in Woodford County Tuesday to capture the special election for the 56th state House District which includes Woodford and parts of Fayette and Franklin counties.
Kay, 30, an attorney who has worked for then Congressman Ben Chandler and state House Democratic leadership, won over Republican Lyen Crews, 51, a CPA who works for ecampus.com, a textbook company and formerly was a financial officer at Midway College, and independent John-Mark Hack, 46, owner of Marksbury Farm Market and a former agriculture official in the administration of Gov. Paul Patton.
Kay polled 3,925 votes to Crews’ 3,065. Hack finished a distant third with 1,925 votes.
Kay won by racking up a comfortable margin in Woodford County, home to all three candidates, where he polled 2,342 to Crews’ 1,664. He also won the Frankfort County precincts 881 to Crews’ 615.
Crews won the Fayette County precincts 588 votes to Kay’s 536.
“I can definitely tell you that we left nothing on the field, and my volunteers and I worked our hardest to communicate our message to voters in the district,” Crews said after vote totals were complete. “Unfortunately, we came up short tonight.”
Kay’s win means Democrats maintain their current edge in the House, 55-45 over Republicans who viewed the race as a forerunner to their hopes to swing the majority during the 2014 elections. Republicans have to be disappointed given the time, effort and money they poured into the race.
“Though we came up short tonight, the 45 members of our caucus remain committed to working on the issues and concerns that hold Kentucky back from being competitive with surrounding states,” said House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown. “We will also redouble our efforts toward 2014 in seeking to bring new life and new leadership to the Kentucky House of Representatives.”