The 8,915 votes cast in a special election in midst of summer and vacation season still represented a 25 percent turnout, perhaps higher than many expected and probably reflecting both major parties’ focus on turnout in the final week of the election.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, based in Washington, D.C., spent close to $180,000 on the race. Kay also had outside support: a Democratic group, Kentucky Family Values, spent at least $50,000 on his behalf.
Kay reported raising $132,000 for the campaign while Crews’ raised $68,000 (through the most recent reporting period). Hack had far less money – about $22,000 through the most recent reporting period. (The numbers don’t reflect money raised through the end of the campaign which will be reported after the election.)
But even using the incomplete totals of more than $450,000, it means the parties and candidates spent about $50 for each vote cast. That number will likely rise as final campaign reports are filed.
Both parties worked the race hard, going door-to-door and helping with fundraising. Leaders in both House caucuses as well as rank and file members from both parties worked the district multiple weekends.
Crews campaigned against Kay’s youth and inexperience and at times tried to nationalize the race by saying in advertising that Kay worked to support Obamacare. Kay supports expanded gambling while Crews opposed it but said he’d support putting the question to voters. The district has several thoroughbred farms and related businesses.
Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the win represents a “shot across the bow by Kentucky voters to Mitch McConnell and his followers that Kentucky is fed up with his brand of partisan politics.”