FRANKFORT, Kentucky — Democrats held on to a seat in the Kentucky Senate on Tuesday while Republicans were leading in a House race in two legislative matchups that drew light voter participation.
Lingering snow and frigid temperatures had a chilling effect on turnout in the special elections that will have little bearing on the political makeup of the Senate but that could inch Republicans one seat closer to a takeover in the House.
Lexington attorney Reggie Thomas will replace former Democratic Sen. Kathy Stein, who resigned her 13th District seat in Lexington after being appointed to a judicial position.
With all precincts reporting, Thomas had 4,040 votes to 2,617 for independent Richard Moloney and 851 for Republican Michael Johnson.
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, who had campaigned on behalf of Thomas, congratulated him on "his hard-fought win."
"Reggie will bring tremendous experience in education to Frankfort, and I look forward to working with him to move Kentucky forward by expanding economic opportunity, providing affordable health care and improving education," Beshear said.
Republican Suzanne Miles of Owensboro held a narrow lead Tuesday night over Democrat Kim Humphrey of Morganfield for state representative in western Kentucky's 7th District.
With all precincts reporting, Miles had 3,548 votes to Humphrey's 3,436.
Miles claimed victory Tuesday, but Humphrey didn't concede. Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon said a re-canvass will be requested.
The winner of that race will replace Democratic state Rep. John Arnold of Sturgis who resigned after being accused of sexually harassing legislative staffers at the Capitol.
Miles sounded confident of victory in a statement Tuesday night, saying she will be a strong voice for residents of Daviess, Henderson and Union counties.
"Winning this election puts Kentucky Republicans on a clear path to flipping the house in 2014 and putting Kentucky back on the right track," she said. "I am excited to be a part of that change."
Democrats currently hold a 54-45 majority in the House.
In the Senate, Republicans have a nine-seat advantage, outnumbering Democrats 23-14.