Politics

Welcome to our live blog, where we’ll be covering races in Louisville and across Kentucky all evening. Polls close at 6 p.m. local time in Kentucky. Keep up with the latest here and on the radio at 89.3 FM.

9:55 a.m.: Republican State House Majority, By the Numbers

The morning after Election Day, AP reports that Republicans in Kentucky will hold 63 House seats to Democrats’ 36. They’re expected to have a 64-36 majority once all races are declared.

Before yesterday, Democrats held a 53-47 majority.

9:47 p.m.: Republicans Win Indiana Races for Governor, U.S. Senate

U.S. Rep. Todd Young kept one of Indiana’s U.S. Senate seats in Republican hands by defeating Democrat Evan Bayh, handing the former two-term senator and two-term governor his first election defeat.

Young, a three-term congressman from southeastern Indiana, will succeed retiring Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who won the seat six years ago after Bayh said he decided not to seek re-election because he was tired of Washington partisanship and gridlock. Young was the heavy favorite to keep the seat in GOP hands in the reliably red state until Bayh’s surprise announcement in July that he would run.

Bayh faced a barrage of attacks over his Indiana residency and lucrative work in Washington, D.C., since leaving the Senate.

GOP HOLDS GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

Republican Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb won the Indiana governor’s race, extending his party’s 12-year hold on the state’s top office.

Holcomb was little known around the state when he became the Republican candidate in July after Gov. Mike Pence was picked as Donald Trump’s running mate.

Democrat John Gregg’s campaign aimed to link Holcomb to controversies during Pence’s term such as Indiana’s 2015 religious-objections law that sparked a national uproar from gay-rights supporters. Holcomb touted the state’s improved fiscal condition under Republican governors, but largely avoided mentioning Pence’s name.

Holcomb, who has never been elected to public office, is a former state Republican chairman and was appointed lieutenant governor in March. –Associated Press

8:56 p.m.: Holland Takes Lead in Metro Council District 16

Gill Holland leads Scott W. Reed by about 140 votes with 42 percent of Metro Council D-16 tallied. –Ashlie Stevens

8:25 p.m.: Reed and Holland in Dead Heat; Kolb in the Lead 

In Metro Council District 16, Republican Scott Reed and Democrat Gill Holland are in a dead heat. Each is hovering around 2,900 votes  with about 29 percent of their district’s votes tallied.

In District 14, Democrat CIndi Fowler is holding on to a decent lead over Shane Ranschaert. With 70 of the votes in, Fowler has about 53 percent of the vote.

Chris Kolb is holding on to a healthy lead in School Board District 2, where David Jones trails by about 14 percent with more than half of the votes in.

About 79 percent of the votes are counted in School Board District 7. Chris Brady has a strong lead with about 43 percent of the vote and Fritz Hollenbach is trailing with 30 percent.

In School Board District 4, Benjamin Gies’ lead over Keisha Allen has grown with 77 percent of votes reported. Gies has 53 percent of the vote. –Kate Howard

8:12 p.m.: Republicans Winning Big in Kentucky

The biggest news of the day in Kentucky might be that Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo has lost his race for re-election to longtime Republican challenger Larry Brown.

Elsewhere on the ballot: Donald Trump has won Kentucky’s eight electoral votes and U.S. Senator Rand Paul has won re-election to his seat. Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie and 6th District Congressman Andy Barr have also won re-election to their seats.

State Sen. Ralph Alvarado, a Republican from Winchester, said Kentucky’s vote for Trump is a vote against the Obama administration.

“It has voted for transparency in government, it has voted for the protection of our constitutional rights, it has voted for lower taxes, for the repeal of Obamacare, for immigration reform and for border security in our country as well,” said Alvarado.

Both parties are anxiously watching returns from state House elections across the state.

–Ryland Barton

8:05 p.m.: House Speaker Greg Stumbo Concedes Race to Larry Brown

7:59 p.m.: Kentucky 1st elects Comer to US House

Republican James Comer has won a seat in Congress one year after narrowly losing a chance to become Kentucky’s governor.

The former state agriculture commissioner defeated Democrat Samuel Gaskins in Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District on Tuesday. He will replace former U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, who resigned in September after a 22-year career in Washington.

Comer was on the ballot twice on Tuesday, once for a full, two-year term and once to fulfill the remainder of Whitfield’s term. As a result, Comer will be sworn into office later this week.

In 2015, Comer was a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor. But he lost to Matt Bevin by 83 votes. Bevin would go on to defeat Democrat Jack Conway. –Associated Press

7:54 p.m.: From KyCIR: Big Turnout, Few Complaints in Several Eastern Ky. Counties

Officials in three eastern Kentucky counties reported heavy voter turnout and a generally uneventful Election Day.

Perry Judge-Executive Scott Alexander said voting appeared to be robust at his polling place in Hazard but that he had heard no complaints from around the county about excessive delays or fraud.

Laurel County Clerk Dean Johnson said his office has been “extremely busy,” with turnout perhaps approaching 60 percent — higher than four years ago.

Johnson said he was aware of only one complaint, about an allegedly “testy” election officer. While that could have been true, Johnson said, he hadn’t had time to investigate. And he defended election officers in general due to the long hours they work and the large crowds they may have to handle.

Voter turnout also was heavy in Floyd County, but with no complaints about excessively long lines, according to a clerk’s office employee. The employee also said the office had been notified of a complaint about election officers not checking voters’ identification. But it was pointed out that state law allows “personal acquaintance” as acceptable verification of identity.

Another complaint, about a courthouse voting machine malfunction, also was deemed to be without merit after technicians and election officials examined the machine and found that it was working properly, the clerk’s office employee said. –R.G. Dunlop

7:50 p.m.: Yarmuth Re-elected to Congress

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth has won re-election to another term in Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District.

The former newspaper publisher defeated two challengers in Tuesday’s election — Republican Harold Bratcher and Forefathers Party nominee Everett Corley. Yarmuth was first elected to Congress in 2006 in the Louisville-area district.

Yarmuth has been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act that he says expanded health insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.

He has also been involved in efforts to craft comprehensive legislation to revamp the nation’s immigration laws. Yarmuth says he’ll continue working for an immigration overhaul that promotes “humane” enforcement, provides a path to citizenship and keeps families together. –Associated Press

7:46 p.m.: Nicholson leads Hickerson for District Court Judge in the 10th

In a crowded race for District Judge in the 10th district, Sara Nicholson leads with 24 percent of the vote. Tanisha Hickerson is trailing Nicholson by about 2,000 votes with a fourth of the votes counted. –Kate Howard

7:37 p.m.:Update on Jefferson County School Board Race

In a three-way race for School Board district 2, Chris Kolb has pulled away with an early lead.

With 20 percent of precincts reporting, Kolb has a 13 percent lead over David Jones Jr., with nearly half the vote. James Fletcher is trailing them both with about 13 percent of the vote.

In School Board district 4, Benjamin Gies leads Keisha Allen with about 59 percent of the vote after 35 percent of precincts have been counted.

About 34 percent of the votes are in on a four-way race for School Board district 7. Chris Brady has about 40 percent of the vote, with Fritz Hollenbach his closest competitor at 31 percent.–Kate Howard

7:33 p.m.: Metro Council, Fowler Leads Ranschaert; Holland and Reed Battle

With about 70 percent of the vote tallied: Democrat Cindi Fowler is leading Shane Ranschaert in the Council 14 race by about 5 percentage points. In Council 16 with 21 percent tallied, Democrat Gill Holland has a slim lead over Scott Reed, 51 to about 49 percent. –Kate Howard

7:19 p.m.: Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie Wins Re-election

Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie has won another term in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District.

The former Lewis County judge-executive defeated Democrat Calvin Sidle in Tuesday’s election in the strongly conservative district spanning much of northern Kentucky.

Massie was first elected to Congress in 2012.

The conservative lawmaker has been at the forefront of efforts to revive industrial hemp production in Kentucky.

Massie also has pushed for legislation calling for a full examination of the Federal Reserve System and how it sets monetary policy. –Associated Press

7:16 p.m.: Polls Closed in Kentucky

Republican Donald Trump has won Kentucky and its eight electoral votes, preserving the state’s streak of voting for the GOP nominee.

Trump easily defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a state that has voted for the Republican nominee every year since 2000. While Bill Clinton won Kentucky twice in the 1990s, Hillary Clinton was hurt by her comments earlier this year that she was going to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Kentucky is the nation’s third largest coal producer.

Trump won despite tepid support from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a former presidential candidate who repeatedly clashed with Trump during the primary debates. Paul later endorsed Trump but often did not discuss him while campaigning for re-election to the Senate. –Associated Press

7:01 p.m.: Associated Press Calls Kentucky, Indiana for Donald Trump; Rand Paul Re-elected to U.S. Senate

 

6:15 p.m.: All Quiet at the Democratic Watch Party in Louisville

6:04 p.m.: Polls Close in Louisvlle, Eastern KY; AG Beshear Update

Almost eight hours into Election Day, Kentucky’s election fraud hotline hasn’t turned up any widespread problems. Attorney General Andy Beshear’s fraud line received 155 calls as of 3:30 p.m., his office said in a news release. Almost a quarter of the calls were questions about procedure or law.

Calls came from 46 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. The counties with the most calls are also the most populous.

Fifty voters called from Jefferson County, where complaints cited voting machines (15), election officials (6), electioneering (5), general fraud (4), among others.

Beshear’s office released the latest tally at 5:30 p.m. today and pledged an update in two hours. Polls close at 6 p.m. in each time zone. –Kate Howard

5:16 p.m.: For Some, Health Care is the Defining Issue of the Election 

Election Day got off to a busy start this morning at Immanuel Church of Christ in the Highlands. We spoke with 50-year-old Sarah Ferguson, who came out to vote for Hillary Clinton based on her stance on the Affordable Care Act.

Ferguson’s 20-year-old daughter has Type 1 diabetes. It’s a condition that can send a patient into diabetic shock and kidney failure if insulin levels aren’t monitored closely. Ferguson is voting for Clinton this election because of the Democrat’s plans to keep the ACA going. Republican nominee Donald Trump has said he would work to dismantle the law, including the part that lets children up to age 26 stay on their parents health insurance.

Ferguson said that would be life-threatening for her daughter.

“One thing that’s huge is that every doc you see is a specialist and you have to see them regularly; you go to the endrochinoloist every three months,” said Ferguson. “And you’re more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. Their immune system is a little bit compromised. It’s an auto immune disease.”

Ferguson worries her daughter won’t get a job immediately out of college, and without employer-sponsored health care, she needs an option to keep insurance for doctors. –Lisa Gillespie

4:55 p.m.: ‘Mommies Weren’t Able to Vote’

Louisvillians showed up in the rain to vote but some found refuge inside. WFPL met with some mothers at Mama’s Hip, a Bardstown Road shop that offers classes and activities for parents. The shop offered Election Day activities for moms and their kids.

Mandy Olivam is a stay-at-home mother and a regular at Mama’s Hip. She teared up this morning as she took her two sons, Oak and Ronin, with her as she voted.

“And as we were standing in line and I was gonna cast my ballot I told Oak, I said, ‘Mommies weren’t able to vote’ and he gasped and said ‘aww,'” said Olivam.

Olivam said she took her sons with her so they could see the power of choice.

Diane Moten is a 20-year resident of Phoenix Hill. Moten was emotional as she cast her ballot this morning.

“Just went in to vote, on my way over I was just about to cry,” Moten said. “It’s just so historic and I’m very proud to have voted for Hillary Clinton.”

Voters at Lincoln Memorial said the process was easy and they didn’t experience long waits. –Roxanne Scott

4:02 p.m.: Ballot ‘Selfies’ Drawing Controversy in Kentucky

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said some precincts around the state have been improperly banning voters from using their cell phones in the ballot booth. Grimes said voters in Scott County were instructed to not take selfies in the ballot booth, despite a recent attorney general’s opinion permitting people to do so.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure that the experience, especially as we move towards the 6 p.m. hour, does not continue but rather folks are having an engaging, positive, enthusiastic experience free of harm, fear or intimidation,” said Grimes.

There have been several complaints across the state of precinct officers posting flyers saying that cell phone use is forbidden, when it is not.

“There are a number of precincts that have signs that are not issued by the state board of elections that are up in the precincts; they say ‘no cell phones allowed per Kentucky revised statute,’” she said. “They obviously cite a very outdated statute.”

Grimes said that clerks were notified last week that cell phone use and ballot selfies were permitted, as long as other voters or ballots weren’t included in the photos. –Ryland Barton

3:20 p.m.: Laurel County Sheriff: No Reports of KKK flyers

The Laurel County sheriff’s office said it has no confirmation of social media and state Democratic Party reports that the Ku Klux Klan allegedly distributed threatening brochures in the Lily community, about seven miles south of London.

Deputy Gilbert Acciardo told KyCIR he knew of no information verifying the reports. The sheriff’s office had not received any complaints from Lily residents about such flyers as of midday Tuesday. laurel-co

Acciardo said the only call to his office pertaining to a Klan brochure was from another part of the county and involved a lone “recruitment” document that contained nothing of a threatening nature.

Yesterday evening, a Kentucky Democratic Party spokesman sent a KyCIR reporter an email with two images and a claim that the “fliers were left at many homes” of “people who didn’t have a Trump sign in their yard” in Laurel County.

The images showed a brochure stating, “BEWARE: The Klan is watching and we do not like what you’re doing!”

As of this 10:30 a.m., the Attorney General’s fraud hotline had not received any reports from Laurel County. –R.G. Dunlop

2:22 p.m.: Mayor Fischer on the Possibility that Republicans Take Over the State House

Mayor Greg Fischer walks into his polling place on Election Day 2016.Jacob Ryan

Mayor Greg Fischer walks into his polling place on Election Day 2016.

Democrats across Kentucky are trying to keep control of the state House this Election Day. The House is the last legislative chamber controlled by Democrats in any southern state.

If Republicans gain a majority, they’ll have control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who’s a Democrat, says this could bode well for the state’s largest city, as Republicans often favor local control. He’s lobbied heavily for the local option sales tax — to no avail — in recent years.

But Fischer says he also has concerns about GOP control of Frankfort.

“We all have got to be concerned about any kind of anti-business legislation as it relates to social issues, we’ve seen the damage of that in North Carolina, we’ve seen the damage of that in Indiana,” he says. “We’ve got to have a state that welcomes everybody.”

Democrats currently have 53 of the 100 seats in the state House. Sixty-five of those are contested this election. –Jake Ryan

2:09 p.m.: Clinton, Trump Supporters in Lexington Weigh in 

Kentucky voters are having their say in a presidential race that has mostly bypassed the state. Democrat Hillary Clinton seeks to run up big margins in Louisville and Lexington and hopes the state’s majority of registered Democrats will blunt Republican Donald Trump’s support in rural areas.

University of Kentucky student Dean Crockett has been a Bernie Sanders supporter, and cast his vote for Clinton this morning in Lexington.

“I think she aligns more with my views than Donald Trump, even though they’re both way off the mark,” he said.

Trump is banking on Kentucky’s recent history of voting for Republican presidential nominees and will try to capitalize on the lingering resentment against Clinton for her comments about coal miners.

Turnout is reported to be heavy across the state and voters head to the polls to elect a new president and other federal, state and local officials.

Mike Gallucci said he reluctantly cast his ballot for Trump, calling him the lesser of two evils.

“You know I’ve been voting for 40 some-odd years, never missed an election, either primary or general,” he said. “I’ve held my nose and voted for a few people. This time I held my nose and put both of my fingers in my ears.” —Ryland Barton

1:26 p.m.: State Board of Elections Holds Midday briefing

Fraud Hotline Gets 64 Calls

In the first four-and-a-half hours of voting in Kentucky today, Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office received 64 calls to the election fraud hotline. They came from 26 counties.

Many of the questions have concerned voting procedure, legal assistance, electioneering and poll disruption, according to Beshear’s office.

Twenty-three of the calls came from Jefferson County, where there were concerns about problematic voting machines and various procedural questions. A spokesman for the Jefferson County Clerk says voting machine problems have been fixed. —Stephen George

Louisville Voter Tells KyCIR of Problems at Precinct Second Year in a Row 

When Michael Roberts tried to record his vote at Broadway Baptist on Brownsboro Road in Louisville, a poll worker directed him to drop his ballot in a slot instead. He wasn’t surprised. The same thing happened last election, he said.

His polling location’s machine was down. While poll officers waited for a tech worker to come out, they promised the ballots would be counted later.

“I don’t feel good about it,” Roberts told KyCIR. “In all likelihood it’s probably nothing nefarious, but it’s disheartening for the second year in a row.”

Roberts’ tip came in via ProPublica’s Electionland project, a collaborative national reporting effort.

The glitch he experienced was one of a couple in Jefferson County this morning, according to court clerk spokesman Nore Ghibaudy.

Traffic has been heavy, with lines reported at a few precincts and a few others reporting trouble with the scanning machine, Ghibaudy said.

Ghibaudy said technicians have tended to all the problem machines. The ballots will be counted by a bipartisan team of election workers.

“All the votes have been cast, and they have been or will be scanned,” he said. —Kate Howard

Morning Voting in Louisville Smooth

Voters in Louisville are turning out at a brisk pace today, with lines and packed parking lots at polling places throughout the city.

Nore Ghibaudy, spokesman for the Jefferson County Clerk, says while turnout has been very heavy so far, voting has been largely smooth.

He says a few polling locations in Jefferson County had trouble with their scanning machines but they’ve been fixed. Any ballots that weren’t fed in by individual voters will be counted by a bipartisan pair of election workers, he says.

Polls close at 6 p.m. in Louisville. —Kate Howard