[Wrote this a week ago, but didn't release it until today. The election was held today and Ms. Smith garnered 34% of the vote. My analysis will follow shortly.]
As many of you know by know by now, Linda Belcher easily won her bid for the state house trouncing the competition 68% to 32%. This was a 19 point pickup since her last outing. But a second special election is being held this coming Tuesday on February 27. House District 89 is a contest between Kelly Smith (D) and Robert Goforth (R). The 89th is comprised of Jackson County and portions of Madison and Laurel Counties.
Goforth, a pharmacist, was recently mentioned in My Old Kentucky podcast as having raised the second most money among Republicans. The latest Kentucky Registry of Election Finance shows him having contributed $100,000 to his campaign and having about half of that on hand 15 days before the election. Eastern Kentucky University Librarian Kelly Smith, on the other hand, raised only $11,000 and spent all of it as of the latest report.
There was no race in the Trump-nami of 2016 for District 89. The last contested race was in 2014 where Marie Rader (R) prevailed in a 70-30 split in her favor. For some idea of partisan lean, Jackson County voted overwhelmingly for Republican in 2012 with Romney receiving 86% of the vote. In 2016, Trump received 90% of the vote. Averaging Jackson County's presidential races, Democrats would be expected to lose by (88-12) or a spread of 76 points.
Look for Repubs to characterize a potential loss as the end of the "blue wave", but be prepared to dig deeper. Deep in the Republican territory of Jackson, I'd call anything between 16% and 30% as expected. Anything Smith (D) gets north of 30% is a continuation of the "blue wave."