Longtime state Rep. Horlander ousted in Democratic primary

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Democrat Dennis Horlander, who has served in the Kentucky House of Representatives since 1996, lost his Democratic statehouse primary on Tuesday to challenger Nima Kulkarni in a race that wasn’t even close.

Kulkarni, a lawyer who moved to the U.S. as a child from India, captured 47 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting in the 40th District, nearly doubling up Horlander at 25 percent. She will face Republican Joshua Neubert in the November general election.

Horlander’s loss was the highest-profile defeat for a local member of the Kentucky General Assembly on a night that saw the House Republican floor leader, Jonathan Shell, also lose his primary.  

Three longtime Louisville state representatives – all Democrats -- are not seeking reelection. In races to fill those seats:

  • In a crowded Democratic primary for the 43rd District seat held by retiring Democratic state Rep. Darryl Owens, Charles Booker won with 29.5 percent of the vote. He defeated Owens’ preferred candidate, Phil Baker, and Jackson Andrews, Mark Mitchell, Kathleen Parks, Pamela Stevenson, Charles Booker and Dre Dawson. Republican Everett Corley, who was a vocal supporter of keeping a Confederate monument near the University of Louisville, won the Republican primary over Denise Raine.
  • There were no primary races for the 31st District seat being vacated by Rep. Steve Riggs. In the general election, Democrat Josie Raymond and Republican Leigh Boland Jones have filed as candidates.
  • Democrat Lisa Willner, a member of the Jefferson County Board of Education, advanced to the November election for the 35th District seat held by outgoing Rep. Jim Wayne. She beat Richard Becker and Jack Walker, taking 57 percent of the vote. Republican Donna Lawlor had no primary opponent.

Besides Horlander, three House members had primary challengers:

  • Tom Burch, a Democrat who has served 43 years in the legislature, won reelection over challengers Warren Greer and James Penny, taking 56 percent of the vote. Republican Christina O’Connor is a candidate for the 30th District seat.
  • Democrat Reggie Meeks bested challenger Matt Osborne with 81 percent of the vote. Judy Stallard, a Republican, has filed to run for the 42nd District seat.
  • Phil Moffett, a Republican who represents the 32nd District, captured 74 percent of the vote in a race against challenger Alan Steiden. Democrat Tina Bojanowski had no primary opponent.

Republican Rep. Jerry Miller had no primary challenge as he seeks to keep the 36th District House seat. In the race to face him in the fall, Democrat Maurice Sweeney won the Democratic primary with 43 percent of the vote and moves on to face Miller.

Jason Nemes, a Republican, who has promised to file a sports gambling bill, also did not face a primary threat for his 33rd District House seat. Democrat Rob Walker defeated Ashley Nash in the Democratic primary, taking 58 percent of the vote.

Three state Senators faced primary election opponents in their bids to keep their seats. In those races:

  • Incumbent Julie Raque Adams captured 90 percent of the vote in cruising past challenger Sheeba Jolly in the Republican primary for the 36th District Senate seat. She will face Democrat Sheri Donohue, who beat her opponent, Gay Adelmann, in the Democratic primary.
  • Republican Ernie Harris, who has served in the General Assembly since 1995, defeated challenger Alex White with 53 percent of the vote. Harris will take on Democrat Karen Berg, who defeated Matt Kaufmann in the 26th District Democratic primary.
  • Incumbent Dan Seum took 67 percent of the vote in easily beating challenger Paul Ham. He faces a challenge in the fall from write-in candidate Andrew Bailey.

This story has been corrected to note that Kulkarni has a Republican challenger in the November election.

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