Winners talk: Clark County preliminary election wrap-up
Republican Ryan Dotson will be Clark County’s new state representative after winning more than 54 percent of the vote Tuesday in a three-way race.
Brenda Considine will be the school board’s new member, and Ashley Ritchie also easily won re-election to the school board.
All four incumbent Winchester city commissioners — JoEllen Reed, Shannon Cox, Ramsey Flynn and Kitty Strode — will stay on.
And the county followed Kentucky in voting overwhelmingly to return Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Senate and Andy Barr to the U.S. House.
Barr got more than 67 percent of the vote in Clark County against Democrat Josh Hicks and won the district handily for a fifth term as 6th District representative.
McConnell beat Democrat Amy McGrath, who previously ran a close race against Barr for the House seat, but this time it wasn’t close. In Clark County, the Senate majority leader came close to beating McGrath three to one. He will serve a seventh term.
While the presidential election had yet to be decided by The Sun’s press deadline, Clark County mirrored Kentucky in giving President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence a resounding win here, taking more than 65 percent of the votes cast.
Dotson got 9,505 of more than 17,500 votes cast in a three-way race that included Democrat Kenny Blair and write-in candidate Jada Brady, a registered Republican.
Although he won by a wide margin, Dotson said the entry of Brady into the race made it harder because he was opposed by some of the same people who opposed him in the primary. That would include state Rep. Les Yates, R-Winchester, who backed Brady after losing to Dotson.
However, Dotson said he wanted to thank Brady for running “a clean, spirited race,” and he said he thinks she has a good future in politics if she wants to pursue it. He said both she and Blair reached out to him after he won Tuesday.
“I was overcome with emotion as the numbers came in last night,” Dotson said. “I underwent a lot of scrutiny, a lot of ridicule from a lot of people, so I wanted to win big. But the thing is when those numbers came in last night, none of that mattered anymore. I wanted to get on my knees and give God praise and thank him because now I represent all Republicans, Democrats and independents, and I want to represent them well with honor and dignity and try to make our district a better place.”
Dotson,said Wednesday he is ready to take on Gov. Andy Beshear over the governor’s public health orders when the legislature meets in January.
During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Beshear issued executive orders to close restaurants to in-person dining and most retail stores to shoppers going inside, and shut schools and churches to try to contain the spread of the deadly virus. He has since loosened those restrictions, even as the number of infections have risen to the highest they’ve ever been.
“We have to curb back the governor’s powers,” said Dotson, who is a pastor and restaurant owner. “He has taken too much upon himself without the General Assembly being part of the decision-making process.”
“We’ve got to get Kentucky back open … and get people back to work, get some normalcy in their lives,” Dotson said.
The other big priority, Dotson said, will be passing a budget in the short session.
Considine took more than 63 percent of the votes for the District 2 school board seat in a three-way race that also included Patricia Stewart-Hopkins and Heather Penichet. She will succeed Scott Hisle, who is stepping down.
The other new member is candidate Megan Hendricks, who was unopposed for the District 3 seat being vacated by Gordon Parido.
Ashley Ritchie, the board’s current chair, won re-election with more than 90 percent of the vote against write-in candidate Michael Cecil in the 5th District.
Board Members Sherry Richardson and William Taulbee weren’t on the ballot this year because the districts’ terms are staggered.
“I will remain passionate about the students, the staff, the parents and the Clark County school system because it was my life for 32 years. I worked to make the Clark County Public Schools system the best school system in the state, and I want to continue that in a different role with a different type of leadership,” Considine said.
“This is going to be all new to me coming in — addressing a pandemic while trying to educate students. There is not going to be a perfect situation, but we will do our best to make it as safe and educationally stable as we can,” she said. “I see that as priority number one.”
“Safety has to come first,” she said, but “at some point we do have to learn to live with our situation and make it the best scenario that we possibly can with the hand we have been dealt.”
Clark County Republican Party Chair Tim Janes pointed out that during Tuesday’s election, 5,789 residents of the county voted straight Republican Party ticket, compared to only 2,665 who voted straight Democrat.
Preliminary results of each race are available at www.winchestersun.com and will be updated as final results become available.