Half of the Kentucky’s 38-member state Senate is up for re-election this year, including three in the Louisville area.
Republicans have a super majority in the Senate — 27 seats compared to Democrats’ 11. And though there are some competitive races in the chamber, there aren’t enough contested or competitive elections for the GOP to lose their majority.
While Republicans won control of the House for the first time in a century just two years ago, the party has been on top in the Senate since 2000.
Here are the contested Senate races in the Louisville area:
Senate District 26 — Jefferson (part), Oldham
Six-term incumbent GOP Sen. Ernie Harris is facing a challenge from Democrat Karen Berg, a radiologist.
Despite his long tenure and a Republican voter registration advantage in the district, Harris is facing a significant challenge from Berg. Both candidates’ campaigns have spent around $100,000 during the election.
Harris is chair of the powerful Senate Transportation Committee, which helps determine priorities for the state’s network of highways and bridges. He has advocated for raising the fuel tax to help shore up the state’s road fund.
Berg says she wants to generate revenue for the state by expanding gaming and legalizing marijuana. She also opposes Gov. Bevin’s Medicaid changes.
Republicans have a registration advantage with 52,494 voters compared to Democrats’ 41,478.
Senate District 36
First-term incumbent GOP Sen. Julie Raque Adams is being challenged by Democrat Sheri Donahue, a former Navy engineer.
Adams owns public relations firm Adams & Call and previously served in both the state House and on Louisville Metro Council.
Adams is a moderate Republican who is endorsed by both the pro-LGBTQ Kentucky Fairness Campaign and the anti-abortion Kentucky Right To Life Association. During this year’s legislative session, Adams helped pass a law that raised the legal marriage age in Kentucky to 18 years.
Donahue says she does not support the rollout of charter schools in Kentucky, wants to expand gambling and legalize medical marijuana to raise revenue for the state and reduce corporate tax breaks.
Democrats have a slight registration advantage in the district with 47,833 voters compared to Republicans’ 47,267. However, nearly 4,000 more Democrats voted in the district’s primary election than Republicans.
Senate District 20
Incumbent GOP Sen. Paul Hornback is seeking his third term in the Senate and is being challenged by Democrat Dave Suetholz, a labor attorney.
The district includes part of Jefferson County and all of Carroll, Henry, Shelby and Trimble counties.
Hornback chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee and has been endorsed by the NRA and Kentucky Right To Life and has been an advocate of expanding hemp production in the state.
Suetholz has been endorsed by several labor organizations and says he wants to undo right-to-work legislation and the repeal of the prevailing wage on public construction projects.
The district has a Democratic registration advantage with 45,453 compared to 36,946 Republicans. Hornback won his previous two elections with 61 percent of the vote in 2010 and 83 percent in 2014.