Disputed Kentucky House Seat Goes To Democrat

Feb 8, 2019

Owensboro Democrat Jim Glenn will retain the 13th District House seat he originally won by a single vote in the 2018 midterm elections. His opponent, Republican DJ Johnson, withdrew his complaint in the disputed contest Friday morning.

In this Jan. 8, 2019, file photo, incoming state Rep. Jim Glenn, D-Owensboro, is sworn in during a ceremony at the Kentucky House of Representatives in Frankfort, Ky.
Credit AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File

Originally declared the victor by the slimmest of margins in November, Glenn was sworn in and maintained the seat was rightfully his, whether he won by “one vote or 1,000.”

After Johnson filed a complaint, a GOP-dominated legislative panel set a recount in motion. Officials combed through more than 12,000 ballots and added one vote to Glenn’s total, but the Daviess County Board of Elections opted to include five of 17 rejected absentee ballots. That left the race in a tie.

Glenn’s team accused Republicans of interfering with the vote counting process — a charge Johnson’s legal team denied. But Friday, the Republican rescinded his complaint, saying a special election would distract from General Assembly’s work and a coin toss would lead to a legal mess.

"If we do a coin toss and I should win, we are going into a legal circus in my hometown like we've neve seen before," Johnson told the House Elections Contest Board. "I will not put my district through that." 

Glenn will now take the seat, leaving the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the chamber at 39 to 61.