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Here's What Happened The Last Time The Kentucky Legislature Decided A Gubernatorial Election

Alan Lytle

The possibility of having the General Assembly determine who won this year’s gubernatorial election is stirring memories of the last time such an event took place in Kentucky, and suffice it to say it was far from orderly.

Historian Ron Elliott recently was a speaker at the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort. He talked about his book Assassination At The State House - The Murder of Kentucky 'Governor' William Goebel

In November 1899, Democrat William Goebel took on Republican William S. Taylor and the latter was declared the winner of the contest by approximately 2,000 votes.  The Democratic majority in the General Assembly contested the results, and although Taylor was inaugurated the following month, the outcome remained in question well into the New Year.

Credit image provided

On the morning of January 30th Goebel was felled by an assassin’s bullet while walking in front of what is now the Old State Capitol.  By that time Democrat leaders in Frankfort had invalidated enough votes to declare Goebel the legitimate governor of Kentucky and he was sworn into office on January 31st, though historians have theorized the man might have already been dead.

Credit Gregory Hardison

WUKY's Alan Lytle recently got a chance to talk about this infamous moment in Kentucky politics with historian Ron Elliott, the author of Assassination at the State House - The Murder of Kentucky 'Governor' William Goebel.

Bitten by the radio bug as a teenager, Alan Lytle got his start start more than 30 years ago volunteering in Clermont County, Ohio for WOBO-FM. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Broadcasting from the University of Cincinnati and worked at a variety of radio stations in the Cincinnati market, then made the move to Lexington in the mid-1990s.
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