Democrat Takes Kentucky House Seat in District Trump Won by 49 Points
01:04, Feb 22, 2018
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Belcher - the Democrat who lost to Johnson in a Trump wave that swept Republicans into office statewide in 2016 - easily won the special election for Kentucky's 49th District.
Belcher had previously served as the representative for Kentucky's 49th District for two terms, from 2009 to 2012 and from 2014 to 2017, until Dan Johnson won in 2016, The Huffington Post reported.
Belcher's victory is nonetheless symbolically important since Trump defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton among the district's voters, 72 percent to 23 percent. She ran for the seat after her late husband, Democratic Rep. Larry Belcher, died in a auto accident in October 2008, replacing him on the ballot after his death.
The day before Johnson took his own life, he spoke from the pulpit at his Heart of Fire Church in the Fern Creek neighborhood of Louisville to denounce the allegations, calling them "fake news".
Rebecca Johnson has defended her husband and has said the allegations against him are not true.
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Democrats say it is proof that their party is gaining momentum ahead of the midterm elections. "I think this shows the entire House, the Kentucky House, is in play". Belcher won with 68.4 percent of the unofficial vote.
Republicans scoffed at that notion, with state GOP spokesman Tres Watson pointing to low turnout and the circumstances of Johnson's suicide "clouding the outcome". She faced off against Belcher, aformer teacher and school administrator who had previously held the seat under strikingly similar circumstances: Belcher ran for the post after her husband, Rep. Larry Belcher, died in a vehicle crash in 2008.
'I've heard from people all day long saying they went to vote for me at the correct polling place and were refused the opportunity to vote, ' Johnson said in a statement.
Belcher said it was "hard to say" if sexual assault allegations against Dan Johnson and his death played a part in the election, adding: "I have tried to stay very positive and away from that whole situation". "It's like we're in a third world country".
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