Politics

A Republican state representative from Winchester has withdrawn her candidacy for re-election, saying that politics in Frankfort has become “too vicious.”

Rep. Donna Mayfield made the announcement during a candidate forum Wednesday evening.

“This past legislative session has been the darkest, nastiest session,” Mayfield said, according to a Facebook Live video of the forum posted by the Winchester Sun.

Kentucky LRC

Donna Mayfield

“I no longer have room for this in me and my family’s life. Therefore I’m withdrawing my name from the primary ballot for state representative.”

Mayfield has represented the 73rd House district since 2011, which includes all of Clark County and part of Madison County in Central Kentucky.

She is a retired administrative officer for the U.S. Marshals service.

During this year’s legislative session Mayfield was seatmates with Republican Rep. Jeff Hoover, the former Speaker of the House who resigned his leadership position amid a sexual harassment scandal earlier this year.

She was also appointed to a special committee to investigate whether Hoover broke House rules by secretly settling a sexual harassment complaint filed by a staffer. The committee disbanded before having any substantial meetings.

This year’s legislative session was marked by intraparty fighting among House Republicans, who divided over the Hoover scandal, whether to change public worker pension benefits and how to go about funding state government for the next two years.

Teachers and other state workers also loudly protested pension changes throughout the nearly four-month session, criticizing Republican lawmakers for rushing through pension changes in a matter of hours with little warning.

Mayfield said she was disturbed by “threatening and profane messages” and behavior of legislators.

“I have lost my love for public service, I do not want to be around the proud, heartless viciousness willfully carried out by so many people,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield threw her support behind her Republican primary opponent, Les Yates, owner of a window installation business in Winchester.

“This is a sad occasion to see somebody do what just happened right here,” Yates said after Mayfield’s announcement.

Yates is the only Republican candidate. Pat Banks, an artist and business owner, and Rory Houlihan, who has worked at Lowes for 18 years, are running on the Democratic ticket.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.