Both Jimmy Kent Wilson and Chris Hightower said last week that they will continue to run for the District 16 seat, despite the fact that the very popular incumbent is back in the race.
“The reason I filed as a candidate is to ensure that Logan and Todd counties are represented by someone that reflects true conservative fiscal and moral values,” Wilson said. “That need still exists.”
Hightower said he hopes to get to run against King in the general election so that he can bring her voting record during the past four years in Frankfort to light.
“I couldn't be more excited for a chance to face Rep. King,” Hightower said. “Martha Jane King has voted for tax increase after tax increase – she even voted for a new division of government inside the transportation department that has the ability to borrow and tax – and I can't wait to make her voting record an issue. Kentucky Club for Growth, a fiscal conservative group that monitors tax increases, rates Martha Jane King below 25 percent – she's not fiscally responsible, that's for sure.”
The third Republican candidate who has filed for the race, Auburn magistrate Jo Orange, could not be reached for comment.
Tom Noe, the longtime Logan County Attorney, has filed to run as a Democrat, but has told the News-Democrat & Leader that he will not oppose King in a primary.
King had previously filed to run for state senate, under the new district boundaries drawn up by the general assembly, but those districts were ruled unconstitutional by a circuit judge in Frankfort and thrown out.
Since that happened, King was forced to run for reelection in her old district as state representative.
Hightower said he never would have voted for the new district lines in the first place.
“Unlike the current batch of Republicans in Frankfort, I will never vote for a bill that isn't constitutional. The Republicans voted along with Democrats for the redistricting plan, then when Gov. Beshear signed it into law, they cried the bill was unconstitutional,” Hightower said. “Why did they vote for it if it was unconstitutional? It's also telling that when plans changed, and Martha Jane King didn't think she had a chance of beating Pendleton for a state senate seat, she crawled back to this race. This tells me one thing: she wants a seat and any seat will do.”