Martha Jane King was given two more years by voters in Logan and Todd counties on Tuesday as she beat Republican challenger Chris Hightower with 54 percent of the vote.
That translated to a 1,858 vote advantage for the incumbent, who was not surprised by the closeness of the race for the 16th District seat, which includes all of Logan and Todd counties.
“When I really looked at a lot of things that are on the top of the ticket where I was running with an unpopular president, and then (U.S. Senator) Rand Paul got involved for my opponent,” King said. “Those things make a difference. I never thought this was going to be an easy race.”
In Logan County, King won with 53 percent, getting 5,549 votes to Hightower’s 4,823.
King said she was thankful for all her supporters who helped he win a third term in office.
“My dedication is just as strong today as it was four years ago when I was first elected,” King said. “I am very proud to be a rural legislator. My goals are never going to change. While I am in office, work as hard as I can for my counties.”
King said that her game-plan going into her third term has not changed either.
“I am very proud to continue to work for Logan and Todd counties in Frankfort,” King said. “People have asked me, what I’m going to do now that you’re reelected? Well, I’m going to do the same thing I’ve been working on the past four year - and that’s economic development to get more jobs in the counties. I know that there a lot of statewide issues that we need to tackle, but the work for our counties will remain the same. That means coming together with republicans and democrats.”
While King won reelection in her race, Democrat incumbent state senator Joey Pendelton did not.
Pendleton has been Logan County’s state senator since the districts were redrawn several years ago, but he was defeated by an extremely narrow margin by Republican Whitney Westerfield.
Westerfield, who is from Hopkinsville, won by just 297 votes in the third senatorial district, which includes all of Logan, Todd and Christian counties. He got 18,457 votes in the three counties while Pendleton received 18,160.
“I am tickled to death to win this race,” Westerfield said. “God got me here. My first thanks is to my heavenly Father. He provided a path to victory for me.”
In Logan County, Westerfield beat Pendleton by 232 votes, 5227-4,995.
“I think people were ready for somebody new,” Westerfield said. “And I don’t mean that as any disrespect to Joey Pendleton, because he has done a lot of good things for the third district. But I think people wanted a fresh perspective and somebody that hasn’t been tied to Frankfort for the past 20 years.”
Westerfield said one of his highest priorities will be keeping casino gambling out of Kentucky.
“I will stand in the way of Governor Steve Beshear as he tries to bring casinos into Kentucky,” Westerfield said. “I will do whatever I can to stop that.”
Westerfield said that he would also like to see Kentucky do away with the prevailing wage laws and he will defend the constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex marriage in the state.
“My focus is also to support traditional family values,” he said. “I think that constitutional amendment might be challenged and I want to make sure my voice is heard.”
In other races, Mitt Romney won Kentucky with over 60 percent of the vote for President of the United States. Incumbent Barack Obama got just 38 percent statewide. Romney did even better in Logan County, where he received 66 percent of the vote. Despite the state result, Obama was reelected to a second term.
In the U.S. House of Representatives race for District 1, which includes Logan County, Republican incumbent Ed Whitfield easily defeated Democrat Charles Hatchett by getting 69 percent of the vote. In Logan County, Hatchett got 68 percent.
Voter turnout in Logan County was 42 percent with 7,175 total ballots being cast.