Democrat Linda Belcher Flips Kentucky House Seat Blue

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Former Kentucky state representative Linda Belcher won a blowout victory Tuesday evening in a special election bid to regain her former seat as a representative of the state’s 49th District. The results—68-32 for Belcher—are a dramatic departure from the county’s recent polling history, which saw it vote for Trump at a decisive 72-23 in 2016. Even when Belcher successfully won the seat in 2014, she did so with a modest 53-47, and then lost the seat by a slim margin in 2016.

Belcher’s opponent, Rebecca Johnson, is the widow of Dan Johnson—the 49th District representative who committed suicide in mid-December after he was accused of sexually assaulting a minor in his home. (Rebecca Johnson also did not show up to the only debate scheduled between the two before the election.)

Belcher’s win marks the 37th legislative flip for Democrats this cycle. Not only are Democrats winning, but they’re doing so by more decisive margins—Vox estimates that they’re running 14 points ahead of Barack Obama in certain districts, and 28 ahead of Hillary Clinton.


Ben Self, chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the strength of Belcher’s margins bodes well for Democrats headed into mid-term elections later this year—indicating that “the entire House is up for grabs this fall.”

For her part, Johnson is complaining that the election was rigged, and said that rampant voter fraud affected the outcome of the race. “I’ve heard from and about 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. “It’s like we’re in a third world country.”