Kentucky has two special elections for state representative soon and this post addresses the first. The first is in the 49th District in Bullitt County on February 20. (Bullitt County is adjacent to Jefferson County). The candidates are Linda Belcher (D) and Rebecca Johnson (R)--the widow of Dan Johnson. Dan Johnson took his life after a series of stories about his past was written by the Kentucky Center on Investigative Journalism.
The last regular election for the seat was held in November of 2016--the same year as the "Trump-nami" where Trump absolutely dominated Kentucky. Belcher, then running against Dan Johnson, was edged out receiving 49.58% of the vote. Johnson received 50.42%. The absolute difference was 156 votes. Donald J. Trump received 72% of the entire Bullitt County vote.
Special elections are a big deal. They are a trial run for the regular election and serve as a talisman for those Democrats seeking to prevail in November. Great stories on the predictive value of special elections here, here and here. Trump's approval nationally hovers around the 40% range but it's been improving since the State of the Union address. He does better in Kentucky with an approval rating of 51%. See Gallup's poll.
This race might be the closest "do-over" you get, absent the Trump effect. One candidate previously ran, and the other is the widow and shares the same surname of her Republican predecessor. The margin of victory was one percentage point.
As a Democratic candidate in the 11th district, I'll be watching carefully to see if Belcher can do better than -1. And this is the important part--by how much. Remember that the former Democratic State Representative David Watkins lost by a single percentage point in the year of Trump.
To sum up my thoughts on this special election: Go Belcher!