Politics

Gov. Matt Bevin has issued executive orders calling for special elections to take place in February of next year to fill recently vacated seats in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

One of those seats was held by Republican Rep. Dan Johnson of Mt. Washington, who killed himself last week. The other will soon be vacated by GOP Rep. Marie Rader of McKee, who is resigning her seat mid-term.

The elections won’t change the overall political balance in the state legislature, because Republicans have a large majority. In the House, Republicans currently hold 62 seats to the Democrats’ 36.

Whoever is elected will be sworn in during the middle of the first budget-writing session in which Republicans will have control of the House, Senate and governorship

Local Republican and Democratic committees will select candidates to appear on the ballots in each district. Independent candidates can also file with the Secretary of State.

House District 49 — Johnson’s former seat — is located within Bullitt County and includes Mt. Washington and Shepherdsville. That special election will be held on February 20.

Johnson killed himself last week in the wake of a Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting expose that revealed years of deception and alleged criminal activity from Johnson. The report also included accusations from a woman who said Johnson sexually assaulted her when she was 17.

Rep. Marie Rader is resigning from her seat representing House District 89 on Dec. 31. The district includes Jackson County and parts of Laurel and Madison Counties.

Rader announced her resignation last week, citing health reasons. She chairs the House Committee on Transportation and has been a member of the legislature since 1997. The special election for her seat will be on February 27.

All 100 House seats — including those filled by the special election — will be up for reelection in November of 2018.

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