Ky. primary may reveal if teacher protests translate into power at polls
Kentucky voters have some important decisions ones to make in Tuesday’s primary.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Teachers had a huge impact on the 2018 session of the General Assembly, showing up in large numbers to protest pension reform and education funding. Observers are now interested in whether those protests will translate into power at the polls in Tuesday's primary.
“It's yet to be seen how that enthusiasm shifts from a couple of thousand people at the Capitol to thousands of votes in each individual district across the state,” said Les Fugate, who has been a consultant for Republican candidates.
Fugate said he'll be closely watching the dozens of teachers running for office.
“We've got several candidates that are either aligned with the teachers' union or are very involved in education. They've made that a top priority,” he said. “We want to see if they have any true impact.”
Democratic consultant and former congressman Mike Ward pointed to a popular chant teachers used during their protests.
“You heard the teachers say it" 'We will remember in November,'” Ward said.
Ward said primary turnout may reveal whether teachers and their supporters, many of whom are Democrats, are more motivated going into the fall campaign.
“What will be interesting to see is if the turnout increases in some of the contested primaries on the Democratic side compared to some of the contested primaries on the Republican side,” Ward said.
Ward and Fugate said they will also watching to see what message seems to resonate with primary voters. That will help shape what candidates talk about going forward.
“It's going to be education and pocketbook issues that make the difference,” Ward said,
“We have a historically low unemployment rate," Fugate said. "If I were a Republican, I would spend my time talking about that prosperity."
There are contested primaries for several House and Metro Council seats and for Louisville mayor. But Ward and Fugate said the hottest local race may be the Democratic primary for Jefferson County attorney.
The polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday, and close at 6 p.m. For information on where to vote, click here.
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